legislative-buildingAs legislators reach consensus on a state budget, the debate over Medicaid reform has progressed to a point where several big questions appear to have been decided – the state will no longer assume the financial risk for Medicaid and will transfer that risk to a mix of managed care and provider-led entities. This does not mark the end of the battle for a Medicaid system that puts patients at the center and the providers in key leadership roles, but the beginning of another phase in reform.
The North Carolina Medical Society (NCMS) has redoubled its efforts at the legislature, clearly outlining the fundamental provisions needed under the proposed ‘hybrid’ system to preserve the heart of our original, 3-year-old proposal – physician-led, patient-centered care – whether it is through a managed care organization or a physician-led entity. You can read what we, in partnership with other stakeholder organizations, have determined to be the essentials of any Medicaid reform legislation here.
In listening to you, we understand that few physician practices are ready to assume the financial risk of the state’s Medicaid program. But some provider-led entities are ready, and they should be allowed to prove themselves as a viable alternative to managed care. Likewise, the safeguards we want to see in any final legislation will help ensure the managed care organizations abide by the principles of patient-centered care, quality metrics, patient satisfaction and that practicing physicians will have key, decision-making roles in any patient care policies.
The battle underway now is to convince legislators to take other states’ bad experiences with managed care as cautionary tales and use that knowledge to enact legislation to truly protect our most needy and vulnerable patients.
Now is not the time to turn away from this issue, thinking the war on behalf of your Medicaid patients is over. This is an important battle in what likely will be a long series of debates as North Carolina’s mammoth Medicaid system is transformed. Now is the time to take action to make sure legislators understand what is at stake for you and your patients. Send your legislator a message now.
The view from the frontlines – watch NCMS Director of Legislative Relations Chip Baggett explain the status of Medicaid reform.