(KCPW News) The state legislature's Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee will meet tomorrow on Capitol Hill to discuss the funding of several Medicaid programs. One program that's being considered would give Medicaid recipients a health savings account with a specified amount of money in it, rather than covering specific services. Republican Representative Stephen Urquhart says this would promote accountability.
"If you and I have no responsibility, we'll act like we have no responsibility. We'll go out and get every test that is available, and we will seek medical care probably more often than is appropriate, whereas if we have a little skin in the game, we will be wiser in our utilization of scarce medical resources," Urquhart said.
The committee will also discuss changing the billing procedures to a flat fee so that patients can compare costs. Urquhart says showing Medicaid recipients the cost of their services is a positive idea.
"This item is not so much that hospitals are charging too much, or that the recipients are over utilizing, I think this one is just pure transparency of, wow, tell us how much something is going to cost so we can make an informed decision. I mean this really is a consumer empowerment push," Urquhart said.
The committee is also discussing the expansion of the medical home program, which provides Medicaid recipients with the equivalent of a primary care doctor who proactively monitors their health care. Urquhart says these measures all make Medicaid more cost-efficient. He says it's the fast growing budget item in the legislature, so dollars will need to be stretched.