More than one way to save on Medicaid

In a just-published op-ed, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) economist Alex Brill sets forth two options to reduce health care costs in Illinois' Medicaid system. If enacted, these efforts would be a part of a broader reform effort which is necessary to avert dramatic cuts in the future.

Two options for reform:
1.    DON'T CAP, COMPLY: Instead of capping the number of prescriptions Illinois Medicaid patients can receive, as has been proposed, policy makers in the Land of Lincoln ought to focus on ensuring that patients take their prescriptions without missing doses to reduce hospitalization and lower health care costs.
2.    BUY THE RIGHT PILLS, REDUCE WASTE: Brill's own research has found that "all too frequently states reimburse for a version of a drug that is more costly than another product with the exact same active ingredient, dose, form and bottle size." Nationwide this practice wastes $329 million, $11 million in Illinois alone.
"Two options suggested here…can achieve measurable success at reducing aggregate health care costs. They are only first steps, of course, and more significant reforms will be required soon. In fact, without radical changes that recognize the need for greater patient responsibility along with access to quality care, costs will never be truly contained."

Alex Brill is an AEI economist who previously served as the policy director and top economist for the House Ways and Means Committee, and on the staff of the President's Council of Economic Advisers. He is available for interviews and can be reached at [email protected]

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] or 202.862.4870.

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