NPR, March 8, 2011
To bring down Medicaid's annul $22 billion cost, Florida's Legislature is planning to dramatically revamp the way the state delivers healthcare to those on Medicaid. State Sen. Joe Negron has put together a plan that changes the state's relationship with Medicaid recipients and Medicaid health care providers. "We want to get out of the check-writing business and into the contract-compliance business," he says. Negron wants to scrap the old fee-for-service model and replace it with managed care. He proposes negotiating contracts with healthcare providers, which would agree to deliver care to the state's 3 million Medicaid recipients for a predetermined fee. Negron says it would give the Legislature a way to effectively cap what it spends each year on Medicaid. From a budgeting standpoint, it's an attractive idea. It passes off the responsibility for controlling costs, and the risk of busting the healthcare budget, to private contractors. But it also means that Medicaid recipients may start seeing fewer benefits.