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April 29, 2008

A win-win for government?

Often people look at government policies in a win-lose framework. Some group will gain from a particular policy, while other folks will lose. But is there ever a win-win outcome? Listen

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"I think there can be, and I think a good example of this is last year's General Assembly here in North Carolina changing the way that Medicaid was financed. Medicaid, of course, is the government program that helps low-income people pay their medical bills. North Carolina was rather unique in that it made counties pay part of those bills. And so what you had was a system where low-income counties that presumably have the highest percentage of Medicaid recipients were having to pay some of those bills. And those counties for a long time said, 'We need to have this burden lifted from us.' On the other hand, high-income counties said, 'Wait a minute now, if we have the state take over Medicaid, we'll probably lose out of this.' Well, the General Assembly, I think, crafted a unique plan. They did take over - or will by 2009 - local Medicaid expenditures. But they made sure that all counties will benefit; that is to say that every county will benefit from this swap by at least half a million dollars per year. So I think this was a real example where government can tackle a problem, can craft a change that really benefits all concerned. This, I think was really a win-win for all counties."

Posted by Dave at April 29, 2008 08:00 AM