Interest groups laud Kasich for work with new federal healthcare office

Published by The Hill
Sam Baker
April 13, 2012

Ohio's Republican governor is drawing praise from several healthcare groups for working with a new federal office created by President Obama's healthcare law.

The law created the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) to test new ways of cutting costs and improving quality.

Although it wasn't initially seen as one of the law's most controversial provisions, some Republicans have recently begun criticizing the CMMI. 

Sens. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) said in a report last month that the CMMI lets "bureaucrats gamble with billions of taxpayer dollars." The center has too much power to make nearly unilateral decisions, they said. 

Still, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) has gotten some positive reviews for working with the CMMI on a major problem in healthcare spending " people who receive both Medicare and Medicaid.

Those patients, often referred to as "dual eligibles," are some of the sickest and most expensive in the country. They account for a disproportionate share of both state and federal healthcare spending, and finding ways to better coordinate their care is a key goal of the CMMI.

Kasich's administration submitted a proposal to CMMI earlier this month for a new, integrated system to care for dual-eligibles. AARP said it was "pleased" with the proposal, which the state wants to implement in January. The CMMI is collecting public comments on Ohio's proposal.

The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare also backed the Ohio proposal, noting Friday that it would expand access to healthcare services that are provided in seniors' homes, rather than at a hospital or nursing home.

"We applaud Ohio's leaders for advancing innovative pro-senior healthcare delivery reforms," Eric Berger, the group's chief executive, said in a statement. "Enabling seniors to remain at home allows for better chronic condition management, improved outcomes and lower costs. This plan is right for Ohio patients and Ohio taxpayers."

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