Hospitals around the state say they could lose nearly $.5 billion dollars under Jeb Bush's proposed budget, and that will end up hurting patients. The governor has recommended a six-percent cut to Medicaid reimbursements and the elimination of hospital services for people in the state's medically needy program, plus some other shifts in funds that could total a $417-million hit.
Hospitals say they could end up having to turn patients away. Florida's hospitals say the governor's proposed budget cuts could do major damage to patient care.
At a capitol news conference, hospital execs painted a bleak picture. Thomas Rozek of Miami Children's Hospital says his hospital could be forced to cut or eliminate some of its most costly services, like its children's psychiatric ward, the only one in the city.
The bulk of the cuts are in the amount of money the state reimburses hospitals to care for low-income patients and adults and kids with no insurance.
When you add it all up, hospitals say they'll lose $417-million, and they'll have no choice but to take it out of services patients depend on.
Some House Republicans say hospital funds should be among the last to be cut, and lawmakers need to look elsewhere. Don't expect them to consider looking for ways to raise new revenue.
Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings pledges to do what she can, but with the state's budget picture worsening, there will be painful cuts.
It will be important to us to minimize that as much as we can but I cannot paint a rosy picture of something that's not rosy. These are pretty somber times,” Jennings comments.
Ultimately it may be you who pays the price, in higher insurance costs and fewer places to go when you need a doctor.
Jennings was scheduled to meet today with some of the concerned hospital executives, but she said she's not making any promises.
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Overview of the Medicaid Program
1. establishes its own eligibility standards;
2. determines the type, amount, duration, and scope of services;
3. sets the rate of payment for services; and
4. administers its own program.