A Medicaid rewrite that would steer 2.9 million low-income sick and elderly Floridians into managed care programs across 19 still-to-be-established regions cleared its first hurdle Wednesday in the state Senate.
The Health Regulation Committee approved the measure 11-0, despite concerns from some lawmakers that the legislation threatens many low-budget, community care providers who currently serve thousands of elderly Floridians in their homes.
Critics said they fear these providers could be hard-pressed to win contracts and play a role in a new system dominated by large HMOs and hospital-driven Provider Service Networks (PSNs).
But Senate sponsor Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said that competition was key to assuring that Medicaid patients received better and more efficient care.
Negron said lawmakers are looking to cut $1 billion from Medicaid’s current $22 billion budget, which now represents almost one-third of the state’s recession-wracked state spending plan.
“I want this bill to be bold and transformative, rather than just sniveling around the edges,” Negron said. (more…)