Rep. Jason Brodeur says he wants to reshape state group health insurance plan

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Since entering the Legislature, Rep. Jason Brodeur has wanted to chair the House Health & Human Services Committee. Now his goal has been reached

Brodeur was named committee chairman earlier this week when House Speaker Steve Crisafulli released a list of committee chairmanships earlier this week.

It’s not surprising he had his sights on the committee given before being named President of the Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce and before being elected to the Florida House in 2010, he negotiated managed care contracts for Proctor & Gamble for 12 years and ran a health care consulting firm. He even served on the state Florida Medicaid Pharmaceutical and Therapeutics Committee.

He’s a policy wonk and a perusal of the bills he filed last session — a medical malpractice system overhaul, HB 739, and an omnibus bill pushed by the Florida Medical Association, CS/HB 1001 — show that.

But don’t expect him to file many bills this year. He sees his role, instead, to help shepherd bigger issues through his committee, with the goal of creating a health care system that provides “the best outcomes at the lowest costs.”

One issue he predicted will resurface in 2015 is remolding the state  group health insurance plan. The latest revenue forecasts shows that the trust fund that pays for the health care costs is solvent and in 2013-14 revenues outpaced expenses by nearly $58 million. The difference between revenues and expenses is projected to dip to $34.2 million in the current fiscal year.

Expenses are projected to outweigh revenues beginning 2015-16.  A projected positive cash balance of $438.2 million, though, will keep the fund in the black until fiscal year 2017-18 when a projected $508 million deficit is projected.

Last year he sponsored CS/HB  7157, which would implement a three- year “transparency” pilot program in at least one, but no more than three areas of the state. In the pilot, state employees would shop for certain diagnostic and surgical procedures using a price list published by a contracted entity.

To reward “value-based” decisions, the state would  share any savings generated by the enrollee’s choice of providers. Participation in the project will be voluntary for state employees.  Additionally, the bill would have altered the state group plan by giving them access to four different levels of benefits. If the contribution toward the plan exceeded the cost of the plan, the difference could be used for other benefits.

The bill, which is also supported by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Corcoran, died in the Senate last year. Nevertheless, Brodeur said the current state group health insurance plan “is out of synch” with today’s benefits and that change is necessary.

“With all 40 of the exact same senators coming back, maybe we’ll take a slightly different approach,” he said noting he’s willing to look at all ideas but “if nothing else comes forward, Id like to try it again this year.”

Brodeur also knows what issues he doesn’t want to tackle, including what he calls “traditional” Medicaid expansion. “offers no flexibility,” he said.