Florida Medicaid changes part of national trends

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Florida’s Medicaid program is not alone. That might be the takeaway from a new national report that details how states have grappled with Medicaid costs during tough budget times. The report, released Thursday by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, found that 39 states cut or restricted provider rates during the 2010-11 fiscal year and 46 planned to do so in 2011-12. That mirrors a move by Florida lawmakers this spring to cut Medicaid hospital rates by 12 percent and nursing-home rates by 6.5 percent. Kaiser also found that states, such as Florida, are increasingly looking to managed care to help control Medicaid costs. The report said 17 states in 2010-11 and 24 states in 2011-12 indicated they were expanding managed care. Vernon Smith, a consultant who worked on the report, said during a conference call with reporters that he thinks managed care also can improve accountability and quality in the Medicaid system.”The opportunity is there to improve the patient experience if it is done right,” Smith said. The report also said some states are looking to impose or increase co-payments on Medicaid beneficiaries. As part of its effort to move to a statewide managed-care system, Florida wants to require Medicaid beneficiaries to pay $10-a-month premiums and also to pay $100 co-payments if they use emergency rooms for non-emergency 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.