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Deep cuts to drug coverage in Senate plan

by John Kennedy | April 1st, 2011

Almost 90,000 poor, elderly or severely ill Floridians would lose government-paid prescription drug benefits beginning next year under legislation approved Friday by the Senate Budget Committee.

The move came a day after the same panel approved a red-ink plagued, $69.8 billion budget that included $450 million in cuts stemming from erasing the services.

But it also clouds the future treatment for some of the state’s most vulnerable patients, said Democratic Leader Nan Rich of Weston.

She said it’s time lawmakers look at tax or fee hikes to ease the deep cuts ruling Republicans are using to close an almost $3.8 billion budget gap.

“I know we need to cut,” Rich acknowledged. “But we’ve been cutting for three years now. We need to look at other options.”

The legislation (CS/SB 7174) affects more than 46,000 adults in the Medically Needy program, who would be limited to receiving state-paid physician coverage, losing drug coverage. State and federal financing of costly medication therapy, though, helps sustain many of these transplant patients and catastrophically ill Floridians.

The Senate also would end the state’s Medicaid Aged and Disabled Program (Meds A/D) in April, eliminating prescriptions for more than 42,000 low-income elderly and disabled Floridians.

Health and Human Services Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said he hoped to reinstate the programs during budget negotiations with the House, which has avoided the proposed cuts.

 But he said the stark decision also makes a case for the Legislature’s proposed Medicaid overhaul, which would steer 2.9 million low-income, elderly and disabled people into managed care programs to save money.

“You can’t do everything,” Negron said of the budget cuts coursing through health and social service programs.

 Rich, however, said the Legislature was effectively “sentencing people to death,” by erasing programs that help people get needed medication.

“I know the idea of bringing new resources here isn’t part of the ideology of  the people in power,” she said.

 But that sparked Sen. John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, to swing back, saying he was tired of hearing fellow lawmakers fling fiery rhetoric while ignoring the message of last fall’s campaigns: that Floridians needed help with their tax burden.

“We’re in a very desperate situation in Florida,” Thrasher said. “The people in power are the 18 million people who helped vote us into office.”

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12 Responses to “Deep cuts to drug coverage in Senate plan”

  1. JimBob Says:

    Republicans = Heartless Crooks

  2. Kevin Says:

    Now this is a death panel!!!!!

  3. APB Says:

    What a cold statement for Thrasher to say. So,now the “people in power” don’t care about the weakest in our communities. Your days are numbered Thrasher!

  4. Mayra Says:

    The elderly and disabled do not have money to pay all there bills,and food .Medication is nessacary for many,many disabled people..
    HOw can you even think to take that away from them..Ife the state does do this and cuts out RX coverage many people will be effected in negitive ways.
    People with mental disorders who can not afford the medication will totally end up hurting themselves or someone else or end up in the nut house.
    Florida treats the disabled just like throw-aways.

  5. Plead the 5th 75 Times Says:

    Yet another example of the GOP taking a big dump all over poor people and the lower middle class. Where is the private sector solution to this problem?

  6. Cross Fingers Says:

    Amen, KEVIN!

    DEATH PANELS are alive and well now thanks in full to REPUBLICAN led legislatures.

    Way to go America.

  7. PFM Says:

    Once again we get a Republican, Thrasher, say that the people voted in November for what we are doing. Not really! You didn’t campaign on these issues. If you had you won’t have received most of your votes. But you still want Dems to be quiet because of last November. Then why in 2008, when the Dems won and with a much higher percentage than the winners in 2010, Republicans didn’t sit and stay quiet. They made up lies about the Health Care Bill and everything else they could think of to stop what the country needed. I really wish Republicans would do their job and make decisions on what’s best for the people of USA not for the top 2% and the coporations.

  8. Fed Up Says:

    Are these the same people who profess they are Christians. I go back to the old quote the Christian right is neither. We are becoming a third world country in the United States.

  9. hopeful Says:

    hey governor. i hope your family is put in a position that you need help and there is none available for you. you are one heartless bastard.

  10. hopeful Says:

    how do we get everyone together to get this P.O.S out of office? he is ruining this state and will continue on this path of destruction. add a sales tax of 1 cent or 1.5 cents to make up for the gap in the budget, BUT DON’T TRY TO KILL THE OLD AND THE NEEDY BY CUTTING OUT PROGRAMS THAT ARE CRITICAL. HEY GOVERNOR’S MOTHER YOU LIED TO US TOO. YOU SAID YOUR SON WAS A GOOD BOY—-HE’S AN ASSHOLE. YOU MUST BE SICK TOO IF YOU AGREE WITH WHAT HE IS DOING. HE RAN HCA THE SAME WAY AND DESTROYED CARE AT ALL THE HOSPITALS HE TOOK OVER, JUST FOR THE SAKE OF MAKING PROFITS.

  11. Searcher Says:

    Well, if they LIVE, 90,000 move VOTERS that will not vote for the TEA PARTY HOSTAGES known as the Florida GOP. Does GOP stand for Gutting Old People?

  12. Floridian Says:

    All these cuts are aimed directly at those more likely to support the Democratic party. Cutting funds ties up potential donations to the D. Party. This is NOT a reduction in budget, this is an ALL OUT ATTACK on voters. Signing these bills will result hands down, in the collapse of the Rep Party in Florida.

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