Managed care is best for Medicaid
As the Legislature continues to debate the Medicaid reform proposals in the House and the Senate, and as the end of session looms, it is critical that the Legislature not miss this opportunity to ensure access to critical care in a way that provides budget certainty.
Critics have argued that there is no information to help guide the Legislature through this decision process. This is untrue. In fact, it is vital that lawmakers take a look at the data recently released by the Agency for Health Care Administration in its preliminary analysis on the comparison of fee-for-service versus managed care.
In our opinion, these preliminary findings and figures provide for the first time a comprehensive comparison of MediPass fee-for-service and managed care. This analysis finds that MediPass fee-for-service is an uncoordinated system that promotes overutilization and exposes itself to rampant fraud and abuse. This data verify what the Florida Association of Health Plans has been saying all along in the debate for Medicaid reform and supports the agency's contentions that 97 percent of Medicaid fraud and abuse in this state is committed in fee-for-service.
The AHCA data also show that Medicaid managed care, in all forms (HMOs and Provider Service Networks, or PSNs), dramatically lowers inappropriate utilization rates, a common complaint about the current fee-for-service system used in Florida. In many of the measures in this analysis, MediPass has two or more times the levels of utilization.
We look forward to continuing to work with the Legislature in supporting the transition of Florida's most vulnerable citizens to managed care provided by HMOs and PSNs and urge lawmakers to pass real Medicaid reform in the final days of the session that will shift the state to a managed care system. And we encourage the governor to publicly support this opportunity to help create a Medicaid system that will be sustainable from both a fiscal and quality standpoint.
A managed care system would save the state $3.5 billion over 10 years, provide the most vulnerable and most needy with care, help curb fraud and transfer the risk of the 3 million enrollees from the state to private, liable companies. But the time to act is now, and all signs point to risk-barring managed care as the best option for the state and its Medicaid enrollees.
Dr. Michael Garner, president and CEO, Florida Association of Health Plans
House ignores own Medicaid analysts April 20
The wrong direction again
Politicians again defy logic in pursuing what they know to be a less effective, more costly avenue as they rush through another "solution" to the our problems in the name of "Medicaid reform."
As with Senate Bill 6, experts are disregarded and stakeholders silenced in the frenzy to show the world that appointed committee members are the more brilliantly intelligent. The result is that it will cost the Florida taxpayers millions while enriching corporate entities. Managed care (corporate for-profit "care") will have a 22 percent overhead (not spent on patient care) that certainly will never assist needy patients — the result being that, sadly, our most suffering and vulnerable elderly will bear that cost.
Civilized society is again diminished by the zeal of our politicians' whims. Or is it because managed care provides the manna of campaign contributions?
Austin R. Curry, Tampa
Supreme Court needs politicians, not ideologues | April 20, commentary
No place for politics
Al Hunt is usually thoughtful in his commentary, but what could he be thinking to suggest that we need politicians on the Supreme Court?
We have career politicians in the executive and legislative branches who toady up to lobbyists and who sell out to party machines. We don't need more of the same on the bench. We need scholars of the Constitution who can discern if the laws handed up by politicians meet the standards of Hamilton, Madison and Jay; not the special interests of Democrats, Republicans or corporate America.
Fred Jacobsen, Apollo Beach
Nuclear conference In Iran faults Israel April 19, story
Reining in Iran
Israel is smarter and wiser than either Iran or North Korea and knows better than to use the barbaric nuclear weapon on anyone. However, should Iran continue to remind other countries that Israel is a threat to one and all, Israel may take it upon itself to see to it that the threats stop.
Unfortunately those at the conference who avidly listened to assertions about Israel's corruption of the world do not listen to what Israel has to say about Iran and its threats. It would certainly change one's thinking if Iran would stop blaming Israel for all the ills in the world and start showing its desire to keep the world safe from being blasted to kingdom come.
We all know how dangerous nuclear weapons are, so why can't the 60 countries who joined Iran in this symposium realize what it is trying to do? Iran's president is diabolic and would use nuclear weapons indiscriminately. Such a person has to be reminded that his thinking will not be tolerated by wise and powerful countries and that his rhetoric must be stopped.
Judith M. Stevens, Clearwater
After reading of the cross-accusations between Israel and Iran and living for more than five decades with the knowledge of how Israel does business with its neighbors, I only wonder when (not if) these two will square off over nuclear weaponry. Anyone who has paid any attention to Israel's conduct over the past 40 years can predict the outcome.
I am not against either country and I firmly believe in the right of each to exist, but that does not give a hall pass to either to imperil its people or the people of other Middle Eastern countries.
The "strong talk" going on over nuclear arms raises a question: How in the world did Israel get nuclear arms and why have we as a nation allowed these weapons of mass destruction to exist for so long in Israel? We have not allowed other nations in this region to arm themselves with weapons of mass destruction — but Israel?
It's time to bring all parties together and demand all these weapons be destroyed in the Middle East. It's time to acknowledge that everyone has a right to exist in peace. That will never happen as long as the bully on the block has all the marbles.
Thomas J. Cook, St. Petersburg