The Obama administration rejects Dem Gov. Jerry Brown's attempts at modest health care cost savings

Even very modest co-pays will make people use resources more responsibly. Why be careful at all with what you ask for if the price to you is zero? Co-pays for drugs ($3) and doctor visits ($5) seem very trivial compared to their true costs. From the WSJ's Political Diary.

Strapped with a $13 billion deficit last year, Mr. Brown sought to squeeze $1.6 billion of savings out of the state's Medicaid program. Since more than half of the state's Medicaid dollars come from the federal government, Mr. Brown had to request waivers from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to implement many of his cost-saving solutions. While Ms. Sebelius last year signed off on a 10% rate cut to providers, which was projected to save the state about $600 million, she drew a line in the sand on the governor's request to charge Medicaid recipients a co-pay for drugs ($3) and doctor visits ($5).

The co-pays would save the state more than $300 million a year, but the Obama administration reasoned that they would deter recipients from seeking treatment and thus restrict health-care access. While in Washington, D.C., for the National Governors Association's winter meeting earlier this week, Mr. Brown lobbied Obama senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and Ms. Sebelius again for a waiver but didn't sound too optimistic about his prospects. The governor said that Ms. Sebelius had raised "legal issues" about charging co-pays and indicated that there were other ways to reduce Medicaid costs, which she didn't specify.

Trouble is, the Obama administration won't countenance limiting eligibility or introducing incentives that encourage doctors and patients to use health resources more judiciously. . . .

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home