All Those Medicaid Experiments? States Often Fail to Evaluate the Results.

Kaiser Health News

By: Phil Galetwitz

With federal spending on Medicaid experiments soaring in recent years, a congressional watchdog said state and federal governments fail to adequately evaluate if the efforts improve care and save money. A study by the Government Accountability Office released Thursday found some states don’t complete evaluation reports for up to seven years after an experiment begins and often fail to answer vital questions to determine effectiveness. The GAO also slammed the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for failing to make results from Medicaid evaluation reports public in a timely manner.

Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, called the report’s findings “troubling but not surprising.” “It has been clear for some time that evaluations of Section 1115 waivers are not adequate,” she said. “There is some good work going on in this space at the state level, for example in Michigan and Iowa, but as the report makes clear state’s evaluations are often incomplete and not rigorous enough.”

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