The private sector is to the efficient administration of healthcare what Ebola is to French kissing:
The average cost of insuring an Iowan on Medicaid has climbed nearly three times as fast since the state hired private companies to manage the program, when compared to the previous six years, new state figures show.
Since fiscal 2017, the first full year of privatization, the per-member cost of Iowa’s Medicaid program has risen an average of 4.4 percent per year, according to the non-partisan Legislative Services Agency. In the previous six years, the per-member cost rose an average of 1.5 percent per year, the agency said.
The new cost figures come amid continuing controversy over whether Iowa should have hired private companies to run the $5 billion program. The shift’s supporters said it would slow growth in health care spending on the more than 600,000 poor or disabled Iowans covered by Medicaid.
The Legislative Services Agency compiled the new cost increase figures from past budget reports published by the Department of Human Services, which oversees Medicaid.
The Medicaid cost increases for this fiscal year are partly driven by an 8.4 percent raise the Iowa Department of Human Services agreed last month to give the two managed-care companies running the program. That raise, which includes state and federal tax dollars, will send $344 million more to Amerigroup and United Healthcare this fiscal year, which runs through June 2019.
So, spending millions of dollars on private management don’t end up saving money.