In her May 7 Point of View “ Our looming budget disaster,” Sabra Faires noted that the Health and Human Services budget is not a source for savings.
I disagree. North Carolina’s annual Medicaid budget is $13 billion and requires an additional $400 million per year above that. This spending has increased by 90 percent in the last 10 years. To realize savings, look no further than North Carolina’s neighbors that have moved to managed Medicaid, providing better care at lower cost.
Georgia uses managed care for many of its beneficiaries. With its Medicaid and PeachCare budget totaling $7 billion, it’s almost half that of North Carolina’s. Are the disadvantaged in North Carolina “sicker” than those in other states? No. The difference is Medicaid managed care.
In refusing the coordinated care and budget predictability of managed care, North Carolina stands alone. To close the budget gap without raising taxes, provide more resources for teacher salaries and ensure that the poorest and sickest receive quality care at lower costs, the state legislature should adopt real reform via managed Medicaid and not some illusory accountable care organization’s “savings” model.
President and CEO, Medicaid Health Plans of America, Washington