Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Florida Legislature doesn't need to approve increase in doctors' Medicaid pay, says spokeswoman

A spokeswoman for incoming Senate President Don Gaetz said Monday that the Legislature does not have to take any action in order for Florida's primary care doctors to start receiving increased Medicaid payments starting Jan. 1 — the first time that providers will receive direct financial benefits from the new federal health care law.

That position directly contradicts statements last week from the office of Gov. Rick Scott and from the Agency for Health Care Administration, which said the Legislature or the Legislative Budget Commission needed to approve the increased payments.

"The increased payment is mandatory and the kind of change that can happen automatically," said Gaetz spokeswoman Katie Betta. "The funding is already included in the base as part of the outlook and the estimating conference. This is not unlike other examples of mandatory changes that were implemented automatically."

Last week, staffers of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington told journalists the same thing: The payments could increase automatically.

On Friday, Scott spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said: "AHCA would need additional budget authority to receive the federal funds to pay the increased rates. The LBC has to grant that authority. We are waiting to hear if the LBC will meet in December."

Earlier, AHCA spokeswoman Shelisha Coleman said: "The Florida Legislature must provide authority for the Medicaid program to draw down federal funds to cover the fee increase."

The increased rates are mandated by the Affordable Care Act. Doctors' groups have long complained that Medicaid rates in Florida are so low that many doctors refuse to treat patients covered by the state-federal insurance for the poor.

The Obama administration wants to increase payments to provide better primary care so that patients don't wind up in emergency rooms, where care is far more expensive, and to increase the number of doctors willing to take Medicaid as the program expands in 2014.

Scott sent a letter to Washington last week, seeking to open negotiations with the Obama administration to find ways to lower health care costs — something Scott says the reform act does not do.

Gaetz has said he favors increased primary care payments but is concerned that the new health care law will end federal support for programs, leaving states with increased costs in the future.

In fact, increased Medicaid payments to doctors sunset in two years.

Florida Legislature doesn't need to approve increase in doctors' Medicaid pay, says spokeswoman 11/19/12 [Last modified: Monday, November 19, 2012 11:29pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. The awkward photo of the Pope, Trump and first family that's taking the internet by storm

    Global Warming

    VATICAN CITY — On Wednesday, Pope Francis appeared to make his point with a gift.

    Ivanka Trump, first lady Melania Trump and President Donald Trump meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Wednesday.  [Evan Vucci/Pool via The New York Times]
  2. Tampa police say 41-year-old man shot and killed by ex-boss, investigation ongoing

    Crime

    TAMPA — A 41-year-old man was shot and killed by his former boss Wednesday morning outside the West Tampa auto body shop where they once worked together, according to Tampa police.

  3. Father and brother of alleged bomber detained in Libya

    World

    The father and younger brother of the man who British police say bombed an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester have been detained in Libya, where anti-terror authorities said the brother confessed to knowing "all the details" of the attack plot.

    Hashim Ramadan Abedi appears inside the Tripoli-based Special Deterrent anti-terrorism force unit after his arrest on Tuesday for alleged links to the Islamic State extremist group. Abedi is the brother of Salman Abedi, who has been identified as the man behind the bombing that killed 22 people and wounded scores at an Ariana Grande concert Monday night in Manchester. [Ahmed Bin Salman, Special Deterrent Force via AP]
  4. Marijuana extract Epidiolex helps some kids with epilepsy, study shows

    Health

    A medicine made from marijuana, without the stuff that gives a high, cut seizures in kids with a severe form of epilepsy in a study that strengthens the case for more research into pot's possible health benefits.

    An employee checks a plant at LeafLine Labs, a medical marijuana production facility in Cottage Grove, Minn. [Associated Press (2015)]
  5. CBO analysis: 23 million would lose health coverage under House-passed bill

    National

    WASHINGTON — The Republican health care bill that passed the House earlier this month would nearly double the number of Americans without health insurance over the next decade, according to a new analysis by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

    President Donald Trump held a press conference in the Rose Garden at the White House with members of the GOP on May 4 after the House passed legislation to roll back the Affordable Care Act. [Cheriss May | Sipa USA via TNS]