New Policy Brief Released: Understanding Florida’s Medicaid Reform Legislation

June 24, 2005 The Winter Park Health Foundation (WPHF) has released the fourth in a series of policy briefs designed to help educate consumers, stakeholders and policy-makers on the issues involved in the comprehensive reform proposed for Florida’s Medicaid program. The brief is called Understanding Florida’s Medicaid Reform Legislation.

Co-authored by Joan Alker, senior researcher with Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute, and Lisa Portelli, program director for WPHF, the brief outlines the steps that will follow the Florida Legislature’s passage of the Medicaid Reform Act in May. Florida Gov. Jeb Bush signed it into law in June.

The brief takes a look at who is likely to be affected by the new law, what kind of benefits will be provided and explains the steps Florida needs to take to receive federal approval to implement the proposed changes. It points out a variety of questions and details that need additional feedback from all parties.

Understanding Florida’s Medicaid Reform Legislation also notes that “the Legislature incorporated many checks and balances to provide oversight as the proposal moves through the approval process,” and the brief includes a chart that illustrates points in the process when the public will be able to provide input.

Noting “the scope and unprecedented nature of the proposals, and the number of Florida residents who depend on Medicaid for vital medical services and long-term care,” the brief suggests that “it is critical that the public be aware of and capitalize” on the opportunities provided to give input.

In releasing this brief and others on Medicaid reform, the WPHF hopes to provide information that will further thoughtful public discussion on the best ways to improve Medicaid funding.

The Winter Park Health Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization that funds research and programs improving the health of children and youth, the elderly and the uninsured.

Suggestions or comments about Medicaid reform can be emailed to empoweredcare@ahca.myflorida.com.

To view a copy of this new and past WPHF policy briefs, go to www.wphf.org