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House Medicaid overhaul teed-up

by John Kennedy | March 14th, 2011

The House version of a sweeping rewrite of Florida’s Medicaid program is poised for a vote this week — the first step toward a legislative end-game with the Senate aimed at yielding a statewide managed care program for the state’s low-income poor, disabled and elderly.

At some point, the federal government is going to have to give its OK to whatever Florida lawmakers agree on.

 But House Health and Human Services Chairman Rob Schenck, R-Spring Hill, said it’s clear state lawmakers agree the goal is to get a handle on a program on track to absorb one-quarter of the state’s roughly $66 billion budget.

“I’m more focused on changing the Medicaid model at its core for generations to come,” said Schenck, who also said “this is a new day for Medicaid.” 

Schenck’s committee held a public hearing on the measure Monday, and plans a Thursday vote. The House bill puts Medicaid’s 2.8 million Floridians into managed care programs operating in seven regions it also creates.

The Senate bill also looks to save cap Medicaid spending by shifting patients into HMO-like services, run by competing private companies and away from the fee-for-service model, ridiculed by critics as wasteful and inefficient.

The Senate legislation hasn’t drawn a full committee vote yet — although health care providers and those affected by the proposed change have jammed public hearings to question portions of the legislation.

The House had its own version of that Monday. Most who testified seemed resigned that major changes are coming this year — but many also sound wary.

Rep. Elaine Schwartz, D-Hollywood, said lawmakers seem intent on ignoring results of a five-county pilot project started in 2006 under then-Gov. Jeb Bush.  Schwartz’s home Broward County is among the five.

The program steered Medicaid patients into HMOs, but many of these private providers eventually abandoned the program — causing disruption in health care for many vulnerable Floridians, Schwartz said.

“It really is not working in Broward County,” Schwarts said.

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3 Responses to “House Medicaid overhaul teed-up”

  1. same ol same ol Says:

    Medicaid is a joke.

    When I managed a large family practice medical office Medicaid patients would come in driving fancy cars, wearing all sorts of gold rings and such, fancy finger nail paintings, dragging three, four, five young’uns, but saying they did not have the $2.00 copay!

    What a pathetic scam!

    Honest taxpayers need to take note and support changes to this fraud.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Yes same ol same ol, you are always going to have those people who scam, game or defraud the system in order to get what they want for free. The fact remains that the children of these Medicaid moms are sick and need medical attention. I seriously doubt that these people you speak of who are obviously African American, who have the fancy cars and fingernails are hiding income from their investments or from a job. The fancy cars are from selling crack or fencing stolen goods and the fingernails are purchased with one several credit cards in their purse that have someone else’s name on them. Would you like to see them pay for their healthcare the same way and perpetuate the crimes they commit even further? We all see them and wish that someone would do something about it and somebody should. On the other hand you probably saw just as many white trash families from Clewiston or (insert any central Florida county here) whose children have a mouth full of rotting infected teeth needing medical attention as well who have no means of support rely on the government for everything they need. Or the elderly woman who receives $500.00 per month in SSI but need to buy medication, food and pay her rent and utilities bill with that. She can’t afford medical care without Medicare’s help and would otherwise die. I know Republicans try to pretend these people don’t exist and point to the woman in the first example as the source of the problem and the target of their legislation. But that’s not the whole story. If you want to do something positive, investigate the fraud and prosecute offenders. Don’t defund or abolish the programs as these tea baggers advocate. And don’t let this crook governor involve his corporation in the process either. Handing his financial interest in Solantric over to his wife is an old trick we have seen many times before. It’s still a major conflict of interest and he is a known fraudulent entity.

  3. Searcher Says:

    Let’s try something that DIDN’T WORK, because it sounds CONSERVATIVE. It makes for good “sound bites” and those poor people rarely vote anyways. Meanwhile, those disenfranchised sick people are going to go to the emergency room, where the cost is 10 times higher than an office visit, and those of us that buy our own health insurance will STILL have to make up the difference.

    It is going to be a long 4 years.

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