Gov.-elect Rick Scott’s transition team released 147 pages of policy documents on Monday. Though the recommendations aren’t binding, the Florida Tribune reports that they “will be taken seriously.”
The first deals with health care issues. A memo, written by Alan Levine, who ran the Agency for Health Care Administration under Jeb Bush, recommends combining four agencies — the Agency for Health Care Administration, the Department of Elder Affairs, the Agency for Persons with Disabilities and the Department of Health — into one massive “new health and human service agency.”
Other than consolidating agencies, which the memo says will help eliminate dozens of instances of overlap between them, the report says the incoming governor will have two major issues demanding the attention of his office: the state’s efforts to overhaul Medicaid, and the implementation of the federal health care reform law (though there is a “strong consensus” among the advisory team that he should continue to call for its repeal). Those issues, Levine writes, demand a health policy “quarterback” in Scott’s office to coordinate efforts.
What’s more, “any effort” to scale back the waiver secured for Florida’s Medicaid system under Bush (which is currently under federal review) “should be met with strong opposition by our congressional delegation and the Scott administration.”
The waiver created a pilot program, which lawmakers have considered expanding, under which care for Medicaid patients in five counties is overseen by HMOs and other managed-care organizations.
This program, along with other Bush-era reforms, has saved the federal government a good deal of money, Levine contends, and the only thanks Florida seems to get are fewer federal dollars flowing into its health care system.
I’ll have more on the transition documents later today.