Orlando Sentinel, April 1, 2011
The Florida House on Thursday approved a plan to shift 2.9 million elderly and low-income Floridians on Medicaid to HMO-style plans, hoping to curb costs of a $20 billion program. The 80-38 vote approved an overhaul that would drastically change the way the state/federal healthcare plan serves some of the state's most vulnerable citizens. HBs 7107 and 7109 would carve the state into eight regions, and Medicaid recipients in each area would be covered by a specific managed-care plan—either a health-maintenance organization, or a provider-service network that could be operated by a healthcare provider such as a hospital, or a group of providers, including doctors. Republican lawmakers argued that the change will provide better care by ensuring that Medicaid recipients get medical treatment, including preventative care, from a physician instead of going to a hospital emergency room.