Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Medicaid reform left a fiscal time bomb in Florida Legislature

TALLAHASSEE — State lawmakers learned this week that former Gov. Jeb Bush's controversial Medicaid reform plan from 2005 includes a time bomb for hospitals: a $300 million penalty.

That's the amount Florida could lose in federal charity health care money if legislators don't expand Medicaid reform statewide within two years. Medicaid reform is an experimental program designed to shift more Medicaid patients to managed-care plans and make the public health system run more like private companies. It currently operates in Broward County and the Jacksonville area.

The state receives about $1 billion a year from the federal government to reimburse hospitals for charity care. If the state doesn't expand Medicaid reform by 2011, it would lose $300 million of the money.

Just informed of the penalty, legislative leaders now are scrambling in the waning days of the lawmaking session to pass special budget language that asks the federal government to give the state more time.

They'll also decide whether to bank about $246 million in surplus hospital money. Tampa General Hospital and Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital, which would be hit particularly hard if Medicaid funds are cut, want the state to hold onto the money to help fill the $300 million hole if the state fails to broaden the reform program statewide.

Some legislators want to kill Medicaid reform entirely.

"We've done the experiment. It has failed," said Durell Peaden, the Senate's health care budget chief. "The reports are unsettling. People couldn't get to specialists, couldn't get adequate care. And they couldn't do it cheaply."

But supporters point to a recent University of Florida study that found patients are highly satisfied with the program.

Former Bush health chief Alan Levine said the state needs time to make the program work. He said the federal government would likely grant an extension to Florida.

"There are things that work in Medicaid reform," said Levine, who now heads Louisiana's hospital system. "There are other issues that will take time to figure out."

The threat of the $300 million loss in the 2010-11 budget year has added a new dimension to the fight over Medicaid reform. It renewed a behind-the-scenes battle between private hospitals such as the Hospital Corporation of America and large charity-care hospitals like Jackson Memorial and Tampa General.

The public hospitals want the state to save the surplus money this year in case of a future deficit. The private hospitals would rather see the state give each hospital its share of the $246 million.

Marc Caputo can be reached at [email protected]

Medicaid reform left a fiscal time bomb in Florida Legislature 05/01/09 [Last modified: Friday, May 1, 2009 11:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Trump awards Medal of Honor to Vietnam-era Army medic (w/video)

    Military

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Monday turned a Medal of Honor ceremony for a Vietnam-era Army medic who risked his life to help wounded comrades into a mini homework tutorial for the boy and girl who came to watch their grandfather be enshrined "into the history of our nation."

    WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23:  Retired U.S. Army Capt. Gary Rose (L) receives a standing ovation after being awarded the Medal of Honor by U.S. President Donald Trump during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House October 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Rose, 69, is being recognized for risking his life while serving as a medic with the 5th Special Force Group and the Military Assistance Command Studies and Observations Group during ‘Operation Tailwind’ in September 1970. Ignoring his own injuries, Rose helped treat 50 soldiers over four days when his unit joined local fighters to attack North Vietnamese forces in Laos - officially off limits for combat at the time.  (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) 775062921
  2. Long day of diplomacy: Tillerson visits Afghanistan, Iraq

    Military

    BAGHDAD — Far from the Washington murmurs about his future, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson traveled to two of America's enduring war zones Monday, prodding leaders in Afghanistan and Iraq to reach out to longtime rivals.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, center, speaks Monday at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, accompanied by Gen. John Nicholson, left, and Special Charge d’Affaires Amb. Hugo Llorens.
  3. Head-on crash kills Wesley Chapel teacher and Zephyrhills man

    Accidents

    TAMPA — Two men, including a high school math teacher, were killed Monday in a head-on crash on Morris Bridge Road, deputies said.

    Shackelford
  4. Pinellas sees slight increase in black and first-year teachers

    Blogs

    A year after the Pinellas County school district was chastised in a state report for clustering inexperienced teachers in the state's most struggling schools, the district has reported a first look at its teacher corps.

    The Pinellas County school district has taken a first look at first-year teachers in struggling schools and minority hiring, both of which ticked slightly upward.
  5. Editorial: Trump owes apology to fallen soldier's Miami family

    Editorials

    There is no more sacred, solemn role for a president than to comfort grieving family members of soldiers who have given their lives in service of their country. Those calls cannot be easy, and some presidents are better at it than others. Yet President Donald Trump and his administration continue to engage in a …