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Medicaid proposal would move patients into managed care

By ames Call

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-953198.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – A Senate budget committee Thursday unveiled a Medicaid reform bill that will move most patients into managed care plans. James Call reports its part of an effort to save money on one of the largest items in the state budget.

The state and federal government spend about 20 billion dollars a year on the health care program for the poor and elderly. It is on track to consume about half of the state's general revenue fund. Senator Joe Negron wants to move seniors into managed care programs as opposed to the current fee for services model. He notes that about 90-percent of fraud cases are fee for services.

"I think the businesses that want to stay involved in Medicaid and I hope they do that they are going to have to convince other parties that they provide value and they are going to have to establish new business relationships because we can't process over a hundred payments to 80-thousand providers. It's not working."

Senate Democratic leader Nan Rich says the idea gives her heartburn and noted that long term care for the elderly is not the cause of Medicaid's problems. The reform proposal will be debated during the spring legislative session that begins in March. When Senator Negron introduced his bill, he welcomed committee members to the first day of class.