Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford keeps listing the same old tired excuses for refusing to expand Medicaid to Florida's lowest-income uninsured, says Tampa Bay Times columnist John Romano (paywall alert).
Romano lists the excuses and explains why they are simply not true.
Gov. Rick Scott stopped in St. Petersburg Wednesday to promote a new state program for doctors in training.
The legislature this spring set aside $80 million to expand medical residency programs at hospitals across the state, including All Children’s Hospital in St.Petersburg. That hospital and nine others in the Tampa Bay region are eligible to receive $13 million of the total.
State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Negron, said he doesn’t expect there to be any movement on the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming session, the Florida Current reports. Negron, who chairs the Senate Appropriations committee, tried last session to pass a private-sector version of Medicaid expansion that accepted federal money to cover the low-income uninsured.
While a majority of Floridians support legalizing medical marijuana, the Florida Legislature is trying to block the issue by asking the Florida Supreme Court to keep it off the ballot, writes Paula Dockery in The Tampa Tribune.
The Legislature is trying to remove the Medical Marijuana Citizens Initiative from the ballot, regardless of whether the required signatures are gathered to be placed on the ballot
Consumer groups, hospitals and insurers are clamoring for Florida to take the $51 billion in federal funds that have been offered to the state over the next decade to provide health coverage to the working poor. But those who are tuned in politically -- even those who desperately want it to happen -- say it’s very unlikely in 2014.
Originally published on Wed November 20, 2013 9:25 am
Florida has rejected an offer of more than $50 billion over 10 years from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. So the question remains: how will health care be funded for more than a million low-income Floridians? This week on Florida Matters, a panel discussion that was held last week at Stetson University College of Law to discuss the options. It was sponsored by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative.
From one end of Florida to the other, calls for Florida House leaders to accept $51 billion in Affordable Care Act funds to expand Medicaid to cover the state's low-income uninsured were renewed on Wednesday. Even Gov. Scott started flirting with Obamacare again. But the man who said no to the money before -- House Speaker Will Weatherford -- is still saying no.
State Rep. Mark Pafford, the incoming leader of Florida House Democrats, says he will continue to press the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming legislative session, the Florida Current reports. Republicans in the Florida House blocked Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act during the 2013 session.
Florida's U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson said Wednesday he wants the Obama administration to hold the contractors accountable --"burn their fingers, make them pay" -- for the disastrous launch of Healthcare.gov.
That's the online sign-up site for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act. It has worked only intermittently since its launch Oct. 1.
Each year, the Florida Department of Health is required to publish an update on the physician workforce, to help the Legislature in strategic planning. That report, which came out this month, said there are 43,406 in active practice.
And yet, two officials who appeared before a House panel examining the health care workforce on Wednesday were stumped when members asked how many physicians the state has. After members asked the questions half a dozen times, the DOH officials said they'd have to get back to the committee, which next meets in January.
Committees in both the House and Senate are considering a call to get rid of the state’s “no-fault” auto insurance coverage, and replace it with a system that would force the insurer of the at-fault driver to pay.
Such a system would require drivers to carry a different kind of coverage, replacing personal injury protection (PIP) with bodily injury.
The move to boost medical manpower through telemedicine in Florida is getting a lot more attention, with a hearing set for December for the state medical boards and now a bill filed to require insurers to pay for it.
HB 167 by state Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, would prohibit insurers from requiring face-to-face visits between doctors and patients in order to have it covered, the Florida Current reports. It has some Republican support.
A majority of physicians who responded to a Florida Medical Association survey this month said they support expanding the Medicaid program to cover more indigent and working-poor adults, FMA reported Tuesday.
But that's not the group's number-one goal for the coming legislative session, so it's unclear whether FMA will lobby for it.
Months after Florida House Republican leaders rejected federal money to expand health coverage for the low-income uninsured, a state agency will ask them to request money under a different Medicaid bucket to give to hospitals for charity care.
This bucket, called the “Low Income Pool,” would be expanded from $1.4 billion a year to about $3 billion under the Agency for Health Care Administration’s proposal.
The strange result of the Florida House's decision not to expand Medicaid is that there are 763,890 Floridians whose incomes are too low to receive subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has become the Obama administration's envoy to Florida on behalf of the Affordable Care Act. She has visited the state half a dozen times since June, trying to get the word out to the state's millions of uninsured to sign up for a health plan.
This week she visited the University of South Florida's Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation, where Health News Florida editor Carol Gentry spoke with her.
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who swooped into Tampa for a 90-minute visit on Tuesday, said "today is better than yesterday" for the still-balky Health Insurance Marketplace. Each day the online enrollment site, HealthCare.gov, will work better than the day before, she said.
The state Senate Health Policy committee chair says he is willing to give a syringe exchange proposal another chance, the Florida Current reports. State Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said the needle exchange is supported by the Florida Medical Association and would be privately funded.
The Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and his GOP colleagues refused to accept billions of dollars in federal funds to cover 1 million poor uninsured adults in the state because the money was technically referred to as Medicaid expansion and they insisted Medicaid is "broken." They said it so often that it must have been on a talking-points memo.
But that refrain ignores some important facts, according to Gary Stein of Tampa, a retired public-health professional turned consumer advocate. He asks: If Medicaid is broken, then who broke it?
A federal judge in Tallahassee has thrown out a medical-malpractice defense law passed this year that gave a defense attorney the right to question the plaintiff's other doctors without permission, the Tampa Bay Times reports.
At right is state Rep. Matt Hudson, R-Naples. Second from right is state Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood. The lawmakers testified during a congressional hearing in Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Sept. 18.
The American Chemistry Council, which spends $100 million a year lobbying for some of the richest companies in the nation, is having great success in state capitals beating back efforts to protect the public from toxic chemicals and plastics.
Florida lawmakers say they have to expand access to doctors now that millions of uninsured people in the state are set to gain health insurance through the Affordable Care Act. One tool they may encourage is telemedicine.
But there's a problem, as state Rep. Cary Pigman explains: Insurers don't pay for it. It's not that they can't, they just don't. Neither does Medicare.
Indian River Medical Center in Vero Beach announced Thursday it was laying off 39 employees, trimming benefits and taking other actions to reduce expenses by $10 million, according to a memo from top hospital officials obtained by Health News Florida.
“We must become more efficient,” stated the memo, from President and CEO Jeffrey L. Susi and Dan Janicak, chief financial and operating officer.