FRANKFORT Gov. Steve Beshear announced Medicaid managed care contracts for three statewide providers Thursday and the renewal of Passport Health Plan’s contract to continue serving the Louisville are for at least one more year.
Passport cut its rates by about $36.7 million to serve 170,000 Medicaid patients in Jefferson and 15 surrounding counties for one year. Most of the rest of the state’s 815,000 Medicaid patients will be enrolled by Oct. 1 in one of three managed care plans offered by CoventryCares of Kentucky, a subsidiary of Coventry Health and Life Insurance of Delaware; Kentucky Spirit Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp. of St. Louis; and WellCare of Kentucky, part of WellCare of Tampa, Florida. Some nursing home patients, institutionalized mental patients and other “medically fragile” Medicaid clients will continue to be served through customary state services, according to Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Cabinet for Health and Family Services which houses the Department of Medicaid Services.
Two of the three companies awarded new contracts have been engaged in recent litigation, but all three companies’ backgrounds were checked and any concerns about them were satisfied, according to Donald Speer, Executive Director of the Finance and Administration Cabinet’s office of Procurement Services.
From a July 21, 2011 opinion piece in the Herald Leader by Dave Adkisson, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
“The Chamber believes this is in recognition of the fact that, no matter how much revenue the state collects, the bucket will continue to leak until the areas of unsustainable spending are addressed.
Our latest update on developments since the initial report is called Building a Stronger Bucket. It details such progress as:
■ Legislative action to reduce the annual growth in spending on public employee health insurance by almost half in the 2010-12 biennium.
■ Corrections reforms projected to generate $422 million in gross savings over 10 years, with $204 million of that to be reinvested in programs to slow the growth in Kentucky's prison population.
■ Expanded managed care to contain escalating cost increases in the state's Medicaid program.” (Emphasis added)
FRANKFORT — Four members of Passport Health Plan will repay $26.4 million to the managed care organization that provides health care to the poor in 16 counties as part of a settlement reached with Attorney General Jack Conway’s office.
So taking these three stories at face value I have to ask the following questions:
1. Is Steve Beshear in the pocket of big business or is he just stupid?
2. When is it a good idea to put millions of tax dollars in the hands of companies that have been known to have questionable business practices, such as having to repay $26.4 million?
3. Isn’t this just smoke and mirrors to cover up a lack of any real plan to resolve the budget issues of Kentucky?