Medicaid Reform in the Works

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - Nearly three million Floridians rely on Medicaid for their health care at a cost of 21 billion dollars to Florida taxpayers. A little more than half comes from the feds, but in order to receive the matching dollars the state has to follow some rules.

Rules Republican lawmakers say cost the state too much money.

“The current system is unsustainable. We have a situation where Washington has really commandeered our state budget,” said Senator Joe Negron, the lawmakers in charge of the reform legislation.

Lawmakers will release a plan to reform Medicaid Thursday. It will force some recipients into managed care programs, eliminate some optional benefits and provide incentives to stop drinking and smoking.

“We say in the bill that we expect them to be engaged in a smoking sensation program that’s medically directed,” said Senator Don Gaetz, a Republican from Niceville.

Advocates for low income families support some of the changes, but fear reform will mean a major reduction in benefits.

“I’m not sure how you get to the reduction if you’re not cutting services,” said Karen Woodall, the Director of the Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy.

Looming are changes brought on by the new federal health care laws that will require Florida to allow another two million people onto it’s Medicaid rolls.

Lawmakers fear that would ruin the budget. If the feds don’t like their plan for reform, lawmakers are prepared to tell Washington they no longer want to offer the entitlement program. Only some of the details about the reform legislation are known right now. The entire plan will be unveiled tomorrow in Tallahassee. It’s expected to cut Medicaid costs by a billion dollars next year.

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  • by tom Location: MADISON on Feb 17, 2011 at 03:46 AM
    MEDICARE is for senior citizens and it has not been altered.......oh that is right....Obama is cutting Medicare by 500 Billion dollars in Obamacare so he can give Medicaid to lazy people and stick it to the old people who cannot work anymore.....sorry granny, your time is up
  • by tom Location: madison on Feb 17, 2011 at 03:43 AM made my point......Medicaid is full of waste and fraud. Thank you for the vote of confirmation
  • by Rose Location: Tallahassee on Feb 16, 2011 at 08:25 PM
    "Posted by: TOM...Medicaid is full of waste and fraud..." Why, has Gov. Scott finally sucked all the money out of it?
  • by Wakulla County on Feb 16, 2011 at 06:35 PM
    You need to make sure that the senior citizens are provided for. It not that great of a program for them now.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:59 PM
    To receive Medicaid: You have to be over 65 under 16 or disabled. Others on it: NEED TO GET OFF THEIR FAT BEHINDS AND GET A JOB. I am tired of footing the bill for your sorry lazy butts.
  • by TOM Location: MADISON on Feb 16, 2011 at 05:17 PM
    Medicaid is full of waste and fraud.....kill it
  • by tom Location: madison on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:55 PM
    Cut Medicaid completely
  • by Sonja Location: Tallahassee on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:42 PM
    It is very easy for you all to sit back and judge people that are on medicaid and talk about the cost, but one day you could very well be one of them. Why don't we do something like quit paying for babies to be born. Only pay for birth control. I could continue but I will run out of space.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:27 PM
    Gary, hmmmmm.... it doesn't really matter because they get their health-care because they are working. Many medicaid recipients get medicaid for ummmmmm.... not working.
  • by About Time Location: Florida on Feb 16, 2011 at 04:21 PM
    Sounds good to me !!!!! There are so many people abusing the medicaid system. Having baby after baby after baby that WE THE TAXPAYERS ARE PAYING FOR!!! They are able to work, they have their boyfriends selling drugs or a few of them might actually be working but the fact is the boyfriend brings in money or lives off the mothers welfare dollars. I will be the first to admit the elderly and disabled definitely deserve this entitlement but it is time to STOP THE ABUSE OF THIS ENTITLEMENT!!! Require drug screens, job training, volunteer work, unnecssary emergency room visits, etc. Medicaid AND welfare need a MAJOR overhaul!!!!!!!!!!!!
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