Today the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that it has approved a waiver for the state of Florida to expand a pilot program statewide for private insurers to provide Medicaid plans.
It will be a phased implementation, beginning no earlier than January 2014, in which the state's 11 regions will each set a minimum and maximum number of available and suitable Medicaid plans. CMS is providing new readiness and oversight safeguards to the program while engaging with Florida stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition to managed care.
U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23) made the following statement regarding the announcement:
"Unfortunately, this decision to expand Florida's Medicaid waiver does nothing to help the 1 million Floridians who will be left without health care coverage because the Florida Legislature and Gov. Rick Scott failed to accept federal funding to expand Medicaid to cover more Floridians. This shortsighted partisan move hurts struggling Florida families who will still be going to the emergency room for health care and driving up the cost of care for all Floridians. It is time for Governor Scott and Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford to get off the sidelines and start helping all Florida families get the care they deserve.
"In March I joined congressional colleagues in raising concerns that the pilot program in Broward County was not sufficiently serving Medicaid patients' best interests. I am encouraged to see that as a requirement of this expanded waiver, CMS is requiring numerous safeguards to protect Medicaid recipients across the state of Florida. It is my sincere hope that CMS will continue to take steps to ensure additional consumer protections and require oversight and monitoring of the expansion. Informing patients of their rights and benefits, pushing for increased transparency, and guaranteeing patients can continue seeing the same doctors they've been seeing, are vital as changes are implemented. The plans must be implemented effectively and seamlessly in order to provide Florida's beneficiaries high quality, affordable health care.
"I will be closely monitoring the waiver's implementation and will continue to support CMS's vigilance in its oversight efforts to protect Florida's Medicaid recipients."