No, I’m not overstating the case. This year, the NC Department of Health and Human Services has hired a $250/hr Medicaid consultant, paid a $210,000 annual salary to a former Louisiana Medicaid director who stayed in NC less than a year, and hired a guy a year out of college for $85,000 a year to be chief spokesperson. Governor McCrory, DHHS Secretary Wos – I have a message for you: Save our taxpayers some serious money and look a little closer to home for your expertise. For instance, take the graduate programs in public policy at Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill.
This week students on the Duke-UNC Student Medicaid Reform Team released a comprehensive, detailed, thoughtful, realistic and highly impressive report on Medicaid Reform in North Carolina. Titled “A New Health Reform Framework For North Carolina” the 66 page document sets out a plan for NC Medicaid that uses both private health insurers and the current public program to expand coverage, recommends concrete ways to better integrate mental health services and contains detailed estimates of costs and benefits of the proposed changes. It short, the student team directly and comprehensively responds to the charge given to the DHHS Medicaid Reform Commission.
Governor, Secretary Wos, I have to tell you. Hiring these students could really help North Carolina in general and the Department of Health and Human Services in particular. Especially when you consider what all the highly paid consultants, high profile meetings, and extensive public relations blitz produced at your final Medicaid Reform Commission meeting this week. The sole document given out at the meeting this week where your big, new revolutionary reform plan was to be presented consisted of a two-page overview of what how you hope to use different payment mechanisms for doctors and hospitals in NC’s current Medicaid program. Two pages! And after all that work and money spent. I would advise a call to the Duke and UNC public policy schools very quickly and see if you can get some of these students to commit to their home state before they get snapped up by other employers.
The most impressive thing about the Duke/UNC student Medicaid reform plan is its focus on a realistic path to reform. It blends the best aspects of the current Medicaid program with use of private health insurers. It contains a detailed look at costs and benefits. And it even attempts to deal with the huge challenges posed by our mental health system. It’s worth a look. For a striking comparison I’ve posted below both the Duke/UNC student plan (66 pages) for the Medicaid Reform Commission and the actual final plan document (2 pages) that came out of that same Commission this week:
The Duke/UNC student-developed comprehensive 66-page plan:
The Official NC DHHS 2-page plan: