Florida CHAIN

A map representing the 13 regions for Medicaid Managed Care
Agency For Healthcare Administration

Florida is asking for extraordinary power to revamp its Medicaid program. It’s prompting alarms from health advocacy organizations and policy analysts because it could cut off access to health care for millions of Floridians. They also complain it’s being done without stakeholder input.

Advocates of a Medicaid expansion are counting on several issues converging at once to help push the reluctant and Republican-dominated House—to accept the dollars.

The first is the looming expiration of $2 billion provided to hospitals to help cover uninsured patients called the Low-Income Pool. The second: the businesses face tax penalties if certain workers are uninsured.

flmedical.org / Florida Medical Association

For the past two years, Florida’s top state lawmakers have opposed expanding the Medicaid program for low-income people under the federal health law. The state has rejected more than $51 billion under the federal Affordable Care Act to increase income eligibility limits and add more people to the rolls. Now one of the state’s most powerful physician groups, the Florida Medical Association is backing a Medicaid Expansion, but it may not be enough to change state lawmakers' anti-ACA stance.

The target date for states to spell out what benefits health insurance companies have to offer under the healthcare overhaul law was Monday. And Florida officials didn’t submit a plan. Now the state may be “defaulting” into a package that’s already available, and its one that most state employers and small businesses already offer.

Florida Blue is the state’s largest small group insurance provider and if the state refuses to act, Florida Blue’s insurance plan could set the bar for what most other insurance companies in the state will have to offer consumers.