The Louisiana legislative auditor found Monday that the Jindal administration produced a more reliable report on how the new privatized Medicaid is working but it still has some flaws.
Gov. Bobby Jindal has said his goal of contracting with insurance companies to do the work once done by the state was to provide cheaper but better health care for the poor. About one-fourth of the state’s population is part of the government Medicaid program.
Legislators had asked the administration to prove its contention that taxpayers and Medicaid patients are better off.
The first report submitted last year by the state Department of Health and Hospitals was criticized for including statistics reported by the private insurance companies that weren’t independently verified.
A second annual transparency report was submitted earlier this year, and Monday’s audit vetted that effort.
“Overall, we found that DHH addressed many of our prior recommendations and produced a more reliable report.”
Efforts to validate the self-reported data “resulted in significant improvement,” the audit stated.
The auditor, however, noted that for the 29 months the privatized program, called Bayou Health, has been operating, DHH has report data for only 18 months.
The Bayou Health privatization effort is being phased in — it now covers about 900,000 of the state’s 1.3 million Medicaid recipients — and the final phase is underway to collect up the rest. Although Louisiana taxpayers pay only a small proportion of the costs — federal dollars make up the lion’s share — Medicaid is still the largest single expense in Louisiana’s $25 billion annual budget.
Legislators in 2015 restructured the annual reporting to allow DHH, in some instances, to report statistics and performance measures that DHH already required by federal oversight authorities.
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