One of every four dollars the state spends goes to medical care for the poor. Medicaid serves 2.2 million Floridians. Costs are rising at the rate of 13 percent a year, that’s something the governor says the state cannot sustain.
"It is double on average, at least double on a compounded basis doubled the growth of our revenues," says Gov. Bush.
Instead of the current system of controlling payments to doctors, the governor's plan would offer patients choices of various insurance policies paid for by the state. Bush isn’t sure if patients will have to pay more out of pocket.
Vicki Weber is one of 27,000 people in the medically needy program who could be affected. She has fought constantly to keep coverage when lawmakers have tried to cut it.
Bush says without a change, she will likely lose what she has.
"If we do nothing, then I think those programs are in jeopardy. Absolutely," says Bush.
Health care advocates say they are willing to listen, but they doubt turning coverage over to profit making companies will result in better care.
Karen Woodall, a health care advocate, says, "The indication is that the private health care market is not working very well right now, so to hold it up as a model to shift everything into is a concern."
The governor’s proposed reforms are going after the low hanging fruit in the Medicaid program, the medically needy or pregnant women with children. It does nothing for long-term care.
Bush hopes to have the first steps of change in place this coming summer.
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