U.S. health care is expensive, but thankfully the myth that Medicaid is “high cost” has long been shattered in Arizona. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is that rare example of public/private partnership that lives up to its name, making it the right vehicle for bringing Governor Brewer’s proposed coverage expansion to life.
U.S. Medicaid systems in general have already more than halved the annual cost-per-enrollee growth rate (6.1 percent) of employer-sponsored insurance (12.6 percent). Still, AHCCCS stands out from that peer group with the ninth-lowest cost-per-enrollee, a less than 2 percent administration cost and a 1.1 percent enrollment fraud and abuse rate.
With Medicaid expansion, nearly 300,000 Arizonans could be converted from drivers of significant economic instability (both personal and system) to participants in a cost-effective, accountable, managed care model largely funded by federal dollars. On top of that, expansion is projected to trigger upwards of 21,000 new jobs and $200 million in state tax revenue.
Separately, Medicaid expansion is a great deal and AHCCCS is a gold standard public/private Medicaid system. Together, they are even more compelling and set a higher standard for what strong public investment options should look like.