AHCA seeks pilot extension

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The state Agency for Health Care Administration on Tuesday asked for another extension — until Sept. 30 — in talks with the federal government about continuing Florida’s controversial Medicaid managed-care pilot program, reports the News Service of Florida. The pilot, which requires most beneficiaries in five counties to enroll in managed-care plans, originally was supposed to expire June 30. But AHCA has received a series of extensions as it tries to reach agreement with federal officials about continuing the program through June 2014. The latest extension is scheduled to expire Thursday. It was not immediately clear Tuesday night whether the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had responded to AHCA’s request for the Sept. 30 extension.In a copy of a letter posted on AHCA’s website, the agency reiterated earlier information that a key issue in the talks is the future of the Low Income Pool program. LIP, as it is known, is part of the pilot and funnels about $1 billion a year to hospitals and other health providers that care for large numbers of uninsured and low-income patients. The federal government has indicated it might end such programs across the country in December 2013, but Florida is seeking to continue LIP through June 2014. The letter, signed by Justin Senior, the state’s acting deputy secretary for Medicaid, said ending the program in December 2013 would “result in a substantial reduction of LIP funding.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.