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Zack Hutchins
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April 7, 2005

Report shows other states are considering major reforms to Medicaid and asks: 'Why shouldn't New York?'

Ideas for major Medicaid reforms are "bubbling up around the country," and New York might learn from other states that provide high-quality care at lower cost, according to the Public Policy Institute's latest Medicaid Watch '05 briefing paper.

The briefing paper, Other states move boldly to reform Medicaid; why shouldn't New York?, points to South Carolina and Florida as two states that are considering especially innovative approaches to taxpayer-funded health care.

Both states are seeking federal permission to give consumers more power over their Medicaid benefits. "That would drive more dollars where they are most needed, rather than allocate limited resources based on political demands," the Institute said. South Carolina is considering offering incentives to encourage behaviors such as receiving screening for diabetes, or maintaining cholesterol levels below certain points.

The briefing paper points out that, nationwide, Medicaid makes up an average 22 percent of state budgets. In New York, the figure is around twice the national level.

The Public Policy Institute is publishing Medicaid Watch '05 to document the case for reforms that reduce overall costs imposed on New York's taxpayers, businesses, farmers, and county governments. All reports in the series are at www.ppinys.org.

These reports were researched and written by Robert Ward, the Institute's director of research. To interview him about Medicaid spending, telephone 518/465-7511, ext. 271.