FLA, Feds discussing Medicaid pilot renewal

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With a June 30 deadline nearing, federal and state officials this week tried to iron out details of renewing Florida? Medicaid managed-care pilot program, reports the News Service of Florida. An agenda from a Thursday conference call shows officials from the state Agency for Health Care Administration and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services discussed several key issues about continuing the controversial pilot. The issues included the Low Income Pool, a $1 billion-a-year program that funnels money to hospitals and other providers that serve large numbers of uninsured people. Hospitals closely watch the LIP issue, at least in part, because changes could affect the amounts of money they receive. Other issues on the agenda included maximum benefit levels and ensuring adequate health-plan choices for beneficiaries. The agenda gives only brief descriptions of the issues discussed, and an AHCA spokeswoman said there were not additional back-up documents. Another call is scheduled May 26, according to the agenda. The pilot program, a priority of former Gov. Jeb Bush, started in 2006 and requires most Medicaid beneficiaries in Broward, Duval, Clay, Baker and Nassau counties to enroll in managed-care plans. Federal approval for the pilot is scheduled to expire June 30, and the state has been seeking a renewal since last year. Even if a decision is not made by June 30, the state can ask for temporary extensions to continue working out details. Meanwhile, the state also will submit a proposal to the federal government this summer for a more far-reaching Medicaid managed-care program. Lawmakers approved that program May 6 to eventually require almost all beneficiaries statewide to enroll in HMOs or other types of managed care.

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.