Medicaid: Benefit Cuts Versus Savings

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL -- March 31, 2001 -- Since early January protesters have been begging lawmakers to leave Medicaid alone. They’ve carried signs and pleaded with lawmakers… But their cries have been muffled by the 3.8 billion dollar budget deficit.

House Republicans say they can save a billion dollars by putting Florida’s three million Medicaid recipients in HMOs or other managed care programs.

“I think that the leadership has the right concept and they are going in the right direction,” said Representative Jimmie Smith.

The governor’s onboard.

“We’ve got to make sure we spend the money better,” said Rick Scott.

But Democrats say quality will suffer.

“By privatizing it we are taking and putting the care of these patients into the hands of those private companies and we know those private companies priority is to make a profit,” said Rep. Mia Jones.

With a GOP supermajority in the legislature and a Republican governor no one expects the bill to fail, but passing the reform legislation is just the first obstacle. The state will still have to get a waiver from the federal government to make the changes.

The state will have until December to get the waiver. Supports of the bill say if the feds won’t sign off, Florida will do something no state has ever done, start its own, scaled back Medicaid program.

Social service advocates say that would be, “Devastating, not only to the people it serves, remember the majority of people on Medicaid are children and behind that we have frail elderly people,” said Karen Woodall.

If the state pulled out of the entitlement program, It would lose 13 billion federal matching dollars. The state House began debating the Medicaid Reform Bill at 3:00. They’re expected to pass it before 5:00 EST. Next week the Senate is expected to take up the reform bill.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by HMA on Apr 4, 2011 at 08:31 PM
    If the numbers are accurate, this sounds like an excellent move. Maybe someone will be able to put some of the irresponsible breeders on birth control. Longterm, exponential savings could be had if they did.
  • by Fedup w/government Location: Florida on Mar 31, 2011 at 08:43 PM
    We have an incompetent President, Florida Governor, and now a legislature who could care less what the people want. It just goes on and on and on.
  • by Rick Location: Perry on Mar 31, 2011 at 05:31 PM
    It will be funny to see the state lose the 12 billion dollars we get for Medicaid from the feds when they don't approve the changes and our Tea Party state pulls out to do it on our own. We will have to do with 8 billion what we're doing with 20 billion now. King Scott will be OK though because all these Medicaid patients will be going to his, I mean his wife's clinics. Rememember this is not a conflict of interest because the King says it's not.
  • by jim Location: tally on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:56 PM
    I've used HMO's for years and haven't suffered for it. I just don't see the problem.
  • by BULL Location: FLORIDA on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:25 PM
    It dosent matter how many federal dollars are lost. The private company will make more dollars, come on people wake up it's all about private industry no matter who suffers because thats the bottom line and Slick Rick say so.
  • by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:10 PM
    The private companies are FOR-profit, so how are these companies going to get paid for providing low income families healthcare?
  • by Anonymous on Mar 31, 2011 at 03:06 PM
    And Rick Scott we found out how you want to spend the money better.....by giving your staff a $20,000 pay raise each.
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