Earlier this week, in a crowded room in the New Jersey State House, we unveiled Medicaid 2.0: A Blueprint for the Future. The Blueprint is the culmination of a year of work that took us around New Jersey — and also to several other states — as we explored ways to make the program more efficient and more effective.
Our goal is to bring New Jersey’s Medicaid program into the future. Medicaid touches one out of every five lives in our state. The program accounts for approximately 20 percent of New Jersey’s state budget. Modernizing Medicaid and making the program more efficient and effective will be essential to future generations and to the fiscal stability of our state for years and decades to come.
The 1.8 million New Jerseyans who rely on Medicaid for their health and wellbeing come from every corner of our state. Medicaid beneficiaries make up over 10 percent of the populations of all but two New Jersey counties.
I encourage you to read the 24 recommendations in the Blueprint. The recommendations are intended to improve the program and enable Medicaid to take advantage of all the advances happening in the world of health care — from new technologies to payment reforms that promote quality and better coordination.
We truly are talking about the future. Over 46% of Medicaid enrollees in New Jersey are children. That’s more than 800,000 children. And Medicaid pays for 42% of all births in New Jersey. Supporting new approaches to ensure that women have healthy planned pregnancies and healthy births will create healthier citizens and stronger communities.
At the Quality Institute, we know the best way to reduce health care costs is to keep people as healthy as possible — and to make sure they receive the right care in the right place.
Medicaid costs federal and state taxpayers over $15 billion annually. Finding more efficient ways to deliver and pay for health care will be critical as we enter a time of increasing pressures on the state’s budget.
Medicaid is also critical to the stability of our state’s health care industry, New Jersey’s second largest employer. About half the revenue of safety net hospitals —and one-fourth of the revenue of all New Jersey hospitals — is connected to Medicaid.
The Blueprint was conceived and funded by The Nicholson Foundation. At our event Monday, Joan Randell, the foundation’s Chief Operating Officer, said Medicaid has often not met the needs of beneficiaries. She talked about how care can be fragmented, and about the need to integrate physical, behavioral, and health-related needs.
The Blueprint is a series of recommendations to address those and other concerns. We did not work alone. We had five transformation teams who volunteered significant amounts of their time. I would like to thank them all here: Dr. Kemi Alli of Henry J. Austin Health Center; Maura Collinsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action; Theresa Edelstein of the New Jersey Hospital Association; Suzanne Ianni of Hospital Alliance of New Jersey; John Kirchner of WellCare Health Plans of New Jersey; John Koehn of Amerigroup New Jersey; Evelyn Liebman of AARP New Jersey; Theodore Pantaleo of Horizon NJ Health; Jennifer Velez of RWJBarnabas Health; and Scott Waulters of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan New Jersey.
These high-level experts sought input and perspective from stakeholders throughout the state — including families who rely on the program, physicians, nurses, insurers, dentists, social workers, hospital leaders, payers, state administrators and elected representatives.
We also met with State Medicaid leaders on a regular basis throughout the year. We are grateful for their time and willingness to work with us. They are true professionals who care deeply about this program.
The release of the Blueprint is a milestone, but far from the end of the journey. We will continue working to implement the recommendations over the next 18 months. We now look to you, our members, along with current and future state leaders, to work collectively to move these recommendations forward to build a stronger Medicaid system for today and for the future.