There's more incentive than ever for the Florida House and Senate to come to an agreement on Medicaid reform.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that federal officials told state lawmakers that they can't privatize Medicaid statewide for now, saying they need to see specific details of how the state plans to change the program. The AP's Kelli Kennedy reports:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent a letter to Florida health officials saying the agency will work with the state to approve a waiver by June 30. However, the agency can't approve expansion of the Florida's current five-county pilot program because the Legislature hasn't agreed on the changes that would be made if it went statewide. The current bill is stalled in the Senate.
Senate President Mike Haridopolos as recently as Wednesday said that medicaid reform (along with pension and education reform) was among the most important items to get accomplished before the Legislature closes its regular session, which is expected to be on May 5. There are currently 2.9 million Medicaid patients in the state.
Medicaid is the federal health care program for low income people that is paid for evenly between Washington and the individual states, and it continues to eat up a major portion of the state's budget.