Oct. 3, 2012
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Brian Balfour (919) 834-2099
RALEIGH — North Carolinians support a reform of the state’s Medicaid program by a 31 percentage-point margin, according to a new poll by the Civitas Institute.
This poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted September 18-19, and had a margin of error of plus/minus 4 percent.
Respondents were asked their opinion about North Carolina transitioning to a Medicaid program modeled after a successful pilot program implemented in Florida beginning in 2005. By a margin of 53 percent to 22 percent, respondents supported the reform.
The Florida program has been able to offer people more choices in health care, while controlling runaway costs. The program partners with private insurance companies to offer Medicaid enrollees choices of plans, with the state reimbursing the insurance company on a per-enrollee, risk-adjusted basis. By comparison, most traditional Medicaid programs – including North Carolina’s – directly reimburse providers of medical care services and offer enrollees no choice of coverage plans.
“North Carolinians understand the budget-busting growth of our Medicaid program, and that real reform is needed to get the program under control,” said Civitas Director of Policy Brian Balfour. “Current cost-control measures clearly are not working, and Medicaid enrollees are trapped in a ‘one size fits all’ program with fewer providers willing to see them.”
Medicaid is a government health insurance program designed for low-income citizens, administered by the states with certain rules and guidelines determined by the federal government. Medicaid expenses are shared by the state and federal governments.
North Carolina’s Medicaid program has increased at an alarming rate over the last several years:
- Medicaid is now the second biggest item in the state budget. At $3.1 billion in state spending for FY 2012-13, Medicaid spending is second only to K-12 public education.
- That price tag has shot up by nearly a billion dollars from just a decade ago. That’s an increase of 42 percent.
- The number of people added to the Medicaid rolls in a recent eight-year period skyrocketed. In FY 2001, the number of unique recipients of Medicaid services was 1.2 million. By 2008, that number had climbed to 1.8 million, a dramatic rise of 50 percent in eight years. The number of people enrolled is almost certainly higher today because of the state’s continued economic troubles.
“Florida’s pilot Medicaid reform program provides an excellent template that North Carolina should replicate,” Balfour concluded. “The results would be a win-win: greater choice and superior results for Medicaid patients coupled with significant savings to hardworking taxpayers.”
Text of question:
North Carolina’s Medicaid program offers only one set of coverage options for enrollees, and the state directly reimburses medical care service providers using taxpayer dollars. Pilot programs like one in Florida instead offer Medicaid enrollees a variety of insurance plans from which they can choose, and the state’s Medicaid program then reimburses the insurance plan on a risk-adjusted per enrollee basis. The insurance company in turn has an incentive to efficiently provide coverage, and also assumes the risk for fraudulent claims. Would you support or oppose North Carolina adopting a Florida-style Medicaid reform in which enrollees are offered choices of insurance plans they can enroll in?
53% Total Support
22% Total Oppose
29% Strongly Support
24% Somewhat Support
9% Somewhat Oppose
13% Strongly Oppose
24% Undecided/Don’t Know
About the Poll:
This poll of 600 registered voters in North Carolina was conducted September 18-19, 2012 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered 2012 general election voters in North Carolina. Sample methodology is List Based Sampling. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in at least one of the past two general elections (2008, 2010) or be newly registered to vote since November 2, 2010. Fifteen percent of this sample (15%) are “cell phone only” households.
The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in at least one of the past two general elections or is newly registered since November 2, 2010.
The Civitas Poll is the only regular live-caller poll of critical issues facing North Carolina. For more information on Civitas polling, see http://www.nccivitas.org/category/poll/.
More information on the Civitas Institute is available at www.nccivitas.org, or contact Jim Tynen at (919) 834-2099.