A House panel cleared its version of a Medicaid overhaul Thursday. While many of the details are quite different from the plan being discussed in the Senate, the basic principle is the same: It would shift most patients into HMOs and other managed-care organizations.
A House panel cleared its version of a Medicaid overhaul Thursday. While many of the details are quite different from the plan being discussed in the Senate, the basic principle is the same: It would shift most patients into HMOs and other managed-care organizations. #
Supporters say the measure would make the cost of the program predictable, while also improving patients’ access to care. #
Broward County Commissioner Barabara Sharief told the panel that the experience of her county, which is part of a Medicaid managed-care pilot program, highlights problems with the managed-care model. #
“Many patients complain of not having access to specialty physicians and losing access to care,” she wrote in a letter to lawmakers. #
The problem, she said to the panel, is that it’s hard to profit from caring for patients without limiting access to services. #
“The thing that’s driving all this is money,” said Mark Pafford, the ranking Democrat on the panel, adding: “We’re not really taking things into consideration that would improve quality and access.” #
Michael Garner of the Florida Association of Health Plans has testified that managed-care plans have an incentive to keep an eye on costs in a way that the existing fee-for-service system does not. They use more generic drugs, for example, and focus on maintaining patients’ health to prevent costly conditions from occurring. #
Sharief said the Broward experiment has been especially difficult for patients who are already chronically ill. The managed-care model may prove capable of improving limiting costs without compromising quality for patients who are currently healthy, but what about the sickest patients who require the most care? #
According to a new report, the reduction to unemployment benefits being negotiated this week in the Florida legislature will have a greater impact on black and Latino workers than on their white counterparts.