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Feds approve first step of Florida’s Medicaid managed care push

by John Kennedy | February 4th, 2013

The Obama administration has approved Florida’s first step toward moving Medicaid patients into managed care programs — endorsing an approach advanced two years ago by the Legislature that stalled awaiting federal action, Gov. Rick Scott said Monday.

The waiver approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under the Department of Health and Human Services allows state officials to begin moving long-term care patients into managed care programs. The state has already chosen five health plans that patients and their families can choose from. Scott was expecting a decision by Thursday, but federal officials informed Florida of the approval late Friday.

“I am appreciative that HHS approved one of our two important Medicaid waivers, and that they have done so before the February 7th deadline,” Scott said. “The additional flexibility provided through this waiver helps improve our current system, and HHS approval allows us to begin implementing changes to our current Medicaid program.”

A larger waiver, allowing for a full, statewide managed care program is still awaiting approval. Scott urged federal officials to OK that plan, which is emerging as an element in the state’s consideration of embracing the Medicaid expansion authorized under the Affordable Care Act.

Florida’s Medicaid toll has spiked with the recession and its aftermath.  Medicaid costs now absorb close to one-third of the state’s $70 billion budget.

Scott and leading Republican lawmakers, however, say the managed care approach can save Florida money. Medicaid’s costs also rise with fraud and waste, which lawmakers said managed  care companies would have more incentive to erase.

The federal application builds on the HMO-styled health coverage plans   introduced for Medicaid patients in Broward, Baker, Clay, Nassau and Duval   counties, beginning in 2006. But that program has drawn mixed reviews from   policy analysts, who question purported cost-savings and quality of patient   care.

Many patients have complained about dealing with a revolving door of managed   care plans, or having to travel long distances to receive specialty care.

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4 Responses to “Feds approve first step of Florida’s Medicaid managed care push”

  1. Susie sunshine Says:

    Are you freakin kidding me? What a transparent thievery. What do you need to know this is a horrid idea- skeletor ruler of Florida serfdom to be the biggest defrauder in history and take the fifth repeatedly…? Oh wait ..ummm yeaahh

  2. Trickle-Up Poverty Says:

    President Obama’s “War on Prosperity” continues. The middle class is losing the war. Higher medical bills, food prices, gas prices, utility bills…in 2013.

  3. Jackie Says:

    What a mess this is!!! All the citizens who voted yes to the O are going to complain…but ya know what, they would still vote for anyone who supports Obamacare in the future…go figure. All the prices of everything go up, and they STILL support the heck out of this President and will continue to do so in the future!

  4. OBIWAN Says:

    Consider the only ‘approval’ condition from Feds is whether or not the state 1) provides benefits mandated on the Federal list and 2) extends benefits to required population groups.

    Every state adds ‘supplemental state benefits’ to Medicaid and serves beyond the Federal required groups.

    Why does it take two years for BARAMA to confirm this? Hmmm… the imperial Presidency thwarting states’ rights and usurping more power!!

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