Florida Moving Ahead with Medicaid Privatization
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Federal health officials gave Florida the green light to enroll tens of thousands of older, long-term care patients into a statewide Medicaid privatization program. But Gov. Rick Scott noted Monday he is awaiting a final signoff from the feds to privatize the program statewide for most of the state’s nearly 3 million Medicaid recipients.
Florida lawmakers have been waiting for nearly two years to learn whether the feds will allow them to expand a program that allows for-profit providers to determine the health care of millions of the state’s poor. The goal of the sweeping privatization bills passed in 2011 was to save the state money while improving services, though little solid data exists on whether the approach works. Lawmakers warned that Medicaid’s roughly $21 billion annual costs were consuming the state budget.