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For Immediate Release

Date:  May 5, 2005/tia

State’s lack of Medicaid reform has cost millions

Springfield, IL – A report released this week indicates that much of the state’s current budget woes could have been avoided if meaningful Medicaid reforms had been implemented, according to State Senator Peter Roskam (R-Wheaton).

A study, conducted by the Lewin Group consulting firm and authorized by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, reached the conclusion that hundreds of millions of dollars in annual savings could be achieved by shifting Medicaid patients into managed care programs.

Moving Medicaid patients into managed care plans is a something Roskam has long advocated. Roskam said implementing meaningful Medicaid reforms will help offset the rising costs of the program and ultimately give patients better access to health care.

“Most of us with health insurance benefits through our employment have managed care plans to help keep the costs down,” Roskam said. “But most Medicaid patients are not subject to the restrictions of managed care plans and so their health care costs are often much higher than the costs incurred in a typical health insurance plan. But if we establish a few common sense reforms, we can save millions.”

The Lewin study suggested managed care reforms could save taxpayers about $1.5 billion in Medicaid costs over a five-year period. The current budget hole is estimated to be as high as $2 billion and much of that cost is related to the growth of Medicaid, which has grown an average of 9 percent each year for the last five years. Only about 10 percent of Medicaid patients participate in a managed care plan.

“Right now the administration is scrambling, looking under the couch cushions and anywhere else money might be hidden to balance a budget severely in the red,” Roskam said. “Here is a way to not only save millions of dollars, but also lower costs in the long-term and it is basically being ignored. It is just another example of the poor leadership this state has experienced in the last three years.”

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