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Senate overhauls Medicaid

by Dara Kam | March 31st, 2010

The Senate approved a sweeping overhaul of Medicaid that would require some Medicaid recipients to pay deductibles and co-payments and give vouchers to others for medical care.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, introduced what he called the “transformative” change as an amendment to the budget (SB 2700), which drew criticism from Democrats who objected the major changes should have been debated in committees.

The proposal would give state health care officials the authority to develop a new waiver program for Florida’s $18 billion Medicaid program. Federal officials would have to approve the waiver.

Negron said the time is urgent because the federal health care reforms signed into law by President Barack Obama could significantly increase the state’s spending on Medicaid, the health care program for the poor.

“The reason we can’t put money into education into other areas of the budget is because…they just come hand us an invoice, you owe us $1.8 billion more this year.
I don’t know why it should be entitled to preferential treatment over all the other needs of the state,” Negron said. “The time right now is urgent.”

The proposal is “a wholesale change of one of the largest and most important programs in this state,” objected Democrat Nan Rich, vice chairwoman of the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee.

“This is a huge policy and appropriations issue. It does not belong passed or defeated on this floor today. It needs to go to substantive committees,” said Rich, D-Weston.

The amendment passed by a 24-12 vote.

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3 Responses to “Senate overhauls Medicaid”

  1. peanut Says:

    Last I read, the federal government was covering the additional patients approved for Medicaide. Do you have any clue how poor people on Medicaid are? Last time they implemented this idea, the medical providers had to eat the charge.

  2. melody Says:

    So rather than legislate and tax appropriately the state of Florida once again reverts to their favorite special interest solution… cost shifting of healthcare.

  3. theloneconsumer Says:

    Well, Floridians wouldnt need medicaid if so many families werent out of work! The thought that our state would use Enterprise Florida and BRIBE corporations to employ us, only to have those companies DUMP employees after taking state money.
    So, how about doing small business tax breaks, and telling corporate America, too anemic to weather bad years like small business, please leave and let someone else employ Floridians.
    I am sure there are enough people who arent begging for a Walmart job.
    Maybe the state has no one to blame for unemployed Floridians but their State Congress.

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