Governor Scott ‘hopeful’ on getting Medicaid Waivers

Gov. Scott `hopeful’ on getting Medicaid waivers

by William Gibso, weblogs.sun-sentinel.com
January 7th 2013 1:31 PM

During what he called a “hopefully productive meeting,” Gov. Rick Scott made a pitch to federal officials on Monday for a Florida proposal to serve the state’s 3 million Medicaid patients through private “managed-care” insurance plans.

Scott promoted Florida’s long-standing request for permission to carry out the plan as an affordable way to expand Medicaid coverage under the new health care law.

His meeting with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other officials at the Department of Health and Human Services did not produce any decisions except for a determination to continue the conversation.

Scott said he and Sebelius also discussed prospects for setting up a state-run insurance “exchange” to help Floridians shop for affordable policies.

Bowing to the results of the November elections, Scott has softened his staunch opposition to implementing an exchange or expanding Medicaid under the new health-care law.

He said Sebelius, a former Kansas governor, “knows what we’re facing.”

“She understands our concern about how do we take care of Florida families and make sure that whatever we do, in regard to the president’s health care law, we insure healthier Florida families,” Scott said. “We want quality health care, but at a price that we can afford.”

He sees the managed-care plan, which relies on Health Maintenance Organizations, as the best way to provide that safety net. The plan depends on waivers from HHS because it deviates from the usual federal policy.

“We’ve asked for as much flexibility as possible,” Scott said.

Most Democrats and many health-care advocates in Florida strongly oppose the state’s managed-care pilot project and a new state law that would expand it statewide, saying it would leave many families uninsured or with inadequate care.

“I’m very hopeful that the things we are doing are going to improve our Medicaid program for our families with these two waivers,” Scott said, “and that those will be expedited to get it done promptly.”

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