AARP latest to weigh in against state’s Medicaid overhaulby John Kennedy | November 3rd, 2011
AARP became the latest organization to fire off a letter urging federal authorities to reject the vast Medicaid overhaul approved by the state’s Republican-ruled Legislature last spring.
House Democrats, the Florida Medical Association, and the National Community Pharmacists Association are among dozens of groups that already have written the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) demanding it reject the state’s proposal to shift almost 3 million low-income, elderly and disabled Floridians into managed care programs.
The waiver sought by the state builds on a five-county pilot program started by former Gov. Jeb Bush. The program, which includes Broward County, has drawn criticism from patients who complain about being switched from one plan to another, or trouble seeing needed specialty doctors. Analysts have also given the pilot mixed reviews for its cost-savings and quality.
AARP, in a letter dated Wednesday, cites that performance, saying the state’s bid for federal approval for a waiver from existing requirements, “neither addresses the shortcomings of the current pilot program, nor recognizes the need for both a strong state oversight and a robust network of providers throughout the state.”
Joyce Rogers, an AARP senior vice-president, concluded the expansion also, “would place the state’s frailest and most vulnerable residents into a longterm managed care program that the state is not ready to operate.”