BusinessHospital AdministrationNewsPolicy & Law

Florida’s Problem: Cutting Medicaid May Cost the State More

1 Mins read

Florida is concerned that it spends too much on Medicaid. Unfortunately for policymakers, proposed cuts to Medicaid are likely to be self-defeating according to an Orlando Sentinel article. They may result in more spending as well as boosting the number of people with no coverage –especially children.

Florida is concerned that it spends too much on Medicaid. Unfortunately for policymakers, proposed cuts to Medicaid are likely to be self-defeating according to an Orlando Sentinel article. They may result in more spending as well as boosting the number of people with no coverage –especially children. Components introduced under the guise of personal responsibility –such as charging $10 per month per beneficiary or $100 for non-emergency use of the emergency department– have great intuitive appeal to taxpayers and legislators, yet can backfire in practice.

Experience from Oregon suggests that even modest, sliding scale premiums result in huge drops in coverage. A report from the Health Policy Institute at Georgetown University suggests 82 percent of those who leave coverage would be children, of whom 98 percent would be below the poverty level.

There are clear examples of emergency room overuse, but what’s crystal clear in retrospect is not always evident up front. In any case, hospitals can do their part with effective triage that sends patients to lower acuity settings or back home when patients who shouldn’t be there show up.

Florida Governor (and former hospital exec) Rick Scott, said, “If we do nothing, this program will bankrupt the state.” But one of the authors of the study, Joan Alker of the Winter Park Health Foundation attributes the growth to rising enrollment and notes that state Medicaid has done a lot better job of cost control than the private sector.

It would be great if Florida and other states could control Medicaid costs just by taking a hard line on beneficiaries. That seems to be the mood the country –or at least the Republican Party– is in. But policymakers will find such an approach won’t actually save much in the way of costs and will have a detrimental impact on public health, overall costs and beneficiaries themselves.

A less instantly satisfying –but more sustainable– approach would be to face up to the reality of the need for delivery system and payment reform, and to invest more rather than less in children.


Related posts
Global HealthcarePolicy & Law

Do HMOs Deserve A Bad Reputation? The Truth Of Managed Healthcare

3 Mins read
Have you ever heard people say that HMO health insurance is no good? It’s no secret that HMOs have a bad reputation,…
Policy & Law

Top 4 Important Things To Understand About Insurance

2 Mins read
When it comes to Medicare, the enrollment process can be a little tricky. That’s why it’s important to understand the relevant health…
Health carePolicy & Law

Elmiron Controversy Highlights Need For Longterm Clinical Drug Testing

4 Mins read
Elmiron has recently been the subject of a number of lawsuits brought about over claims that the drug causes vision problems and may lead…