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State begins Medicaid hearings

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-972926.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The Florida Agency for Healthcare Administration has begun a series of public meetings as the state works toward getting federal permission to turn its Medicaid program over to managed care. But as Lynn Hatter reports how that transition will work has an entire industry of healthcare providers nervous and confused.

Florida Legal Services attorney Anne Swerlick says the devil is in the details when it comes to Medicaid managed care. She's especially concerned about a part of the bill that requires people in the state's medically-needy program to pay premiums for their services. It forces people to spend down their income until they have less than 200-dollars.

"And we really hope those changes are re-thought because some people are really going to be hurt and some people are going to die if they can't use that program."

The state also wants Medicaid patients to pay 10-dollars a month toward their healthcare. Lobbyists for the private healthcare companies that would manage the program say they can run it better and more efficiently. But the state still needs federal permission to move forward with its plan, and has until August first to submit waivers.