Opponents of a statewide Medicaid managed care model are calling on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reject the changes to the program made during this year’s state legislative session.
In a letter (.pdf) issued today, 106 Florida-based organizations urge the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (aka CMS) to reject “the State’s application for a Medicaid waiver that would place all recipients in HMO and HMO-like plans with unprecedented power to control access to health benefits and services.”
Laura Goodhue, executive director of Florida CHAIN, said in a press release that doctors, nurses, congregations, families, and workers from more than 100 organizations are “adding to a growing chorus of Floridians who oppose jeopardizing access to critical health services for our poorest seniors in nursing homes, children, and persons with disabilities, leaving their care in the hands of profit-driven plans.”
Florida Democrats also wrote to CMS last Friday to voice their opposition to the application CMS is soon expected to receive from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, seeking a new statewide experiment in Medicaid managed care.
The letter — signed by state Reps. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, Steve M. Perman, D-Boca Raton, Elaine J. Schwartz, D-Hollywood, and Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach — also requested that the renewal of a 2006 waiver for a Medicaid managed care pilot program in five Florida counties be denied. (Read the full letter below.)
Opponents of the five-county pilot program argue that the current Medicaid Reform Pilot program provides the foundation for the statewide managed care expansion authorized in the past legislative session and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott.
State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, one of the primary architects of the bills, responded in late June to other calls for the federal government to reject proposed changes to the state’s Medicaid program with two arguments: that the changes are necessary to put a lid on the program’s rising costs and free up budgetary room for other priorities (like education), and that the statewide package does not simply expand the pilot program, which critics have called a failure. He said this year’s legislation includes stronger fiscal controls, increased reimbursements for doctors, and more protections for patients.