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Opinion

If Medicaid's Broken, Who Broke It?

Gary_STein.jpg

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?

In his column for the e-magazine Context Florida, Stein explains the history and shared responsibility of the health program for the very poor. While the federal government pays more than half of the cost in Florida, 54 percent, it leaves the monitoring to state governments.

And Florida Medicaid is being converted to a statewide managed care program, under the direction of most of the current legislature. So if the program is broken, Stein asks, who should be blamed?