WPHF Introduces New Policy Brief: Issues to Consider in Governor Bush’s “Florida Medicaid Modernization Proposal”

The Winter Park Health Foundation introduced the latest in its series of policy briefs focused on Florida Medicaid Reform—-“Issues to Consider in Governor Bush’s ‘Florida Medicaid Modernization Proposal’”–in a live webcast on Friday.

Hosted by policy brief co-author Joan Alker, senior researcher with the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute, the session was offered to provide policy-makers and others interested in health care change with helpful, unbiased information they can use as they remodel the Medicaid system.

The new brief, which can be viewed on the Foundation website, www.wphf.org, examines Gov. Bush’s proposal and emphasizes questions that still need to be asked before major changes take place.

“There are many key questions left unanswered by the Medicaid Modernization Proposal—including precisely how the changes will impact the state’s Medicaid budget and how much money the state will spend per person,” the brief states.

“The proposed expansion of managed care in the governor’s proposal is fundamentally different from the way Medicaid managed care currently operates in Florida and nationwide,” it continues.  “Private insurance carriers and other managed care networks would have unprecedented flexibility to determine the benefits that Floridians enrolled in Medicaid receive.”

“The concept of relying on competition among private insurers to save money without compromising beneficiaries’ access to services is untested.  Available evidence suggests that Medicaid delivers care more cost-effectively than private insurance,” the policy brief states.

On a mission to educate the community on and spark discussion of Florida Medicaid reform issues, the Foundation published its first brief in April, 2004.  It was titled, “What Could a Waiver to Restructure Medicaid Mean for Florida?”  The Foundation followed up with a second brief, “Florida’s Medicaid Budget: Why Are Costs Going Up?” and helped host a Medicaid Reform Symposium in July, 2004.

A fourth policy brief is being planned.

The first three policy briefs were co-authored by Ms. Alker, commissioned to do the work, and Lisa Portelli, program director, Winter Park Health Foundation.

Copies of the first two policy briefs can be viewed on the Foundation website, www.wphf.org.