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Audrey Brown

Controversial dental bill clears Senate, now heads to governor

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A bill that may change how Medicaid programs provide dental care to children is headed to the governor. The Florida Senate on Monday voted 35-2 to approve a measure (HB 819) could remove dental services from the list of minimum benefits under the state’s Medicaid managed care plans. Among other things, the bill requires the Agency for Health Care Administration to implement a statewide Medicaid prepaid dental health plans. It also calls for the state to prepare a report looking…

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Senate Health budget panel advances children’s Medicaid dental proposal

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Despite some push-back from some health insurance carriers, the Senate Health & Human Services Appropriations Committee approved a bill to reform children’s dental coverage, creating an independent program to administer it under the state’s Medicaid regime. The bill, SB 994, is sponsored by newly-minted Senate President-to-be Sen. Joe Negron. Negron said the state’s participation levels in the program is too low – “as low as in the mid-30s,” though insurers disputed that figure – and that many states who have gone to a separate, independent…

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Today on Context Florida: Seminole Compact, fee-for-service, off island in Key West and LIFO ban

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Today on Context Florida: Jac VerSteeg talks about state Sen. Joe Abruzzo’s ‘wide open’ alternative to the Seminole Compact, which may be under consideration if the Legislature refuses to ratify Rick Scott’s deal with the Tribe. Abruzzo says: “In looking at this and all the moving parts and how difficult this issue is, we hear a lot about the compact and a lot about parity and things of that nature …What if we just looked at giving parity to all the…

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Today on Context Florida: Judicial term limits, bring back the clowns and balance billing reform

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Today on Context Florida: Term limits have spelled disaster for the Florida Legislature, says Martin Dyckman; it erases experience, dumbs down the process, and leaves lobbyists even more firmly in control. It was the achievement of people who preferred to weaken government rather than improve it. Florida being Florida, he says, it figures that some people now propose to do the same to the judiciary. As a child, Marc Yacht loved the circus. Back then, they were still pitching tents. The…

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Rick Scott’s healthcare commission the hot ticket in town

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There are more questions than answers in Tallahassee regarding healthcare financing, Medicaid and the inevitable special session this summer. One thing is for sure, though: there’s plenty of interest in serving on the healthcare commission that Gov. Rick Scott created through an executive order on Tuesday and tasked with analyzing the state’s healthcare costs and investigate what can be done to lower them. “It is the intent of this administration to continue to develop cost-effective, patient-cenered approaches for making healthcare…

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CFO’s priority bill on out-of-network emergency care killed by Senate?

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A move to prevent doctors and hospitals from balance billing insured patients who go out-of-network for emergency services and care appears dead for the session. The Senate Banking and Insurance Committee temporarily passed the measure — SB 516 — at its meeting last week and the bill is not slated to be heard in the committee when it meets April 7. Under Senate rules, any bill that is temporarily deferred must be considered at the next meeting or else it’s…

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House passes, Senate delays, balance billing ban that pits providers against insurers

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Doctors and insurers battled over balance billing in the Florida Legislature on Tuesday. While the House Appropriations Committee advanced a bill, CS/HB 681 by state Rep. Carlos Trujillo, which would prevent insured patients from being balance billed by providers for emergency care and place into statutes reimbursement options, the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee took a pass on the companion bill, SB 516. Hospitals and doctor groups opposed the House bill but it was supported by the Florida Association of Health Plans.…

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