GAO issued a report examining the evaluation and usefulness of Medicaid demonstration programs. Health and Human Services (HHS) has the authority to allow for states to test new ideas on how to administer Medicaid services. The purpose is to allow states to try new ideas, evaluate them, and use the data to create efficiencies within the state or throughout the country.
However, GAO found that while a significant amount of money is spent on demonstration programs – $100 billion of the $300 billion in Medicaid spending in 2015 – the demonstration programs could not be properly evaluated because reporting gaps and lags. They have also not been making the results public, “missing an opportunity to inform important policy discussions happening at the state and federal levels.” All of these factors strain the usefulness of the $100 billion in annual spending on these demonstration programs.Read the full report