Gov. Gina Raimondo’s working group to "reinvent Medicaid" convened for the first time Monday night. The group’s task is to find savings and rein in spending to help close the state’s budget deficit. Executive Office of Health and Human Services head Elizabeth Roberts highlighted some of the toughest financial challenges.
“Seven percent of Medicaid members, people we’re currently serving, are about 66 percent of our costs," said Roberts. "That is a truly jaw-dropping number.”
That number also represents an opportunity, she said. It’s a place to start looking not only for ways to contain costs but also to ensure the most vulnerable Rhode Islanders are receiving the highest quality care.
Raimondo told the group she wants them to think about long term improvements, not just short term cuts.
“We could just take our pen out and cut, cut, cut, and get through next year’s budget," said Raimondo. "And then we’d be right back at this table next year. So, instead, what I’m asking you to do is step back and say, ‘How can we redesign the system?’”
The working group will meet several times between now and the end of April, when they must deliver their recommendations to the Governor. They will not vote on the final report, but provide input to Executive Office of Health and Human Services head Elizabeth Roberts and her team.