As explored in this New York Times article, a crucial experiment in the future of Medicaid is playing out in Florida, where both houses of the Legislature are vying to find ways to drastically cut costs, manage care and reduce waste and fraud.
The cuts and changes being sought by the Republican-led Legislature and encouraged by the new Republican governor, Rick Scott, a wealthy former hospital company executive, are deeper than those in many other states.
In the past 11 years, the cost of Medicaid in Florida has grown to $21 billion from $9 billion and amounts to a third of the state budget. The federal government pays more than half the tab.
Relying loosely on a five-year-old pilot program to shift care to HMOs, Florida lawmakers are poised to scrap the traditional model in which the state pays doctors for each service they perform. Instead, almost all of Florida’s Medicaid recipients would be funneled into state-authorized, for-profit HMOs or networks run by hospitals or doctors. HMOs or networks would also manage the long-term care of the elderly, shifting them away from nursing homes and leading to an expansion of in-home care. Lawmakers who support the bill say the state needs this flexibility in curtailing the exploding cost of Medicaid. Read more…