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Health News Florida

Can FL Medicaid Learn from Arizona?

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Conservative Republicans in the Florida Legislature declare they despise Medicaid, the state-federal insurance program for the poor. They say they don't want to expand it to cover 1 million uninsured -- even if federal funds pay most of the cost -- because they don't want to put more people in a "broken system."

But they've been describing Florida Medicaid as it stands, with a  fee-for-service payment system that makes fraud too easy and finding a doctor or dentist too hard.

Changes are under way in Florida's Medicaid program that will move virtually all enrollees into private managed-care plans, starting with those who are most expensive -- the elderly and disabled. The idea is to provide financial incentives to support their care outside nursing homes. The rollout will begin in August and proceed around the state month by month.

In fact, it sounds very much like the system that Arizona has developed and which is popular with patients and politicians alike. Read a description of Arizona's system at Kaiser Health News.