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Gary Alexander’s report reappears

July 12, 2011

Months ago I reported on a document written by Gary Alexander- the former head of the Department of Human Services and the former secretary for the Rhode Island Executive Office of Health and Human Services.

In it, he claimed that Rhode Island’s Global Medicaid Waiver saved around $110 million dollars,  but state officials couldn’t back up his numbers.

Since then, many  websites and publications, including the Wall Street Journal, have used Alexander’s report as evidence that block grant funding of Medicaid would save states money and give them more flexibility.  The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities disagrees.

In any case, as federal lawmakers struggle to create a compromise on raising the debt ceiling and consider making cuts in  medicaid funding, Rhode Island has reemerged as a model.

Today I got an email alert for this article from the Heartland Institute, a group devoted to free market solutions, using Gary Alexander’s unsubstantiated numbers.

According to the Pacific Research Institute, “In 18 months following the waiver, Rhode Island’s Medicaid spending was almost one-third less than budgeted: $2.7 billion versus $3.8 billion.” Meanwhile, the new system has shown no reduction of access to care.

Who does the Pacific Research Institute cite for its numbers?

  1. Gary Alexander, Rhode Island Medicaid Reform Global Consumer Choice Compact Waiver (Alexandria, VA: Galen Institute, December 29, 2010), p. 5.
  2. Ibid., p. 10.

Turns out Gary Alexander is also a frequent contributor to the Heartland Institute. He’s written three articles for the website, all of them about RI’s Global Medicaid Waiver.

True or not, Alexander has done a thorough job of getting his message out into the political debate.

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