Feds say yes to Florida’s Medicaid waiver extension …. again

Oct 14, 2011

The following article was published in The Florida Current on October 14, 2011:

Feds say yes to Florida’s Medicaid waiver extension … again

The federal government on Friday gave the green light to the Agency for  Health Care Administration to continue operating its Medicaid Reform pilot plan for another 16 days or until Oct. 31.

In a brief three-paragraph letter posted on AHCA’s website Friday,  Victoria Wachino, a director in the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, thanked the agency for the time it has “dedicated to the renewal process” and said she looked forward to working with the state to finalize the three-year waiver extension.

This is the seventh time the federal government has agreed to extend the state’s waiver, which technically expired June 30. Florida is seeking a three-year extension of its sweeping Medicaid 1115 waiver which makes possible a five pilot Medicaid Reform project launched by former Gov. Jeb Bush. In addition to making possible the five-county program it also establishes a $1 billion supplemental pot of money called the Low Income Pool, which is used to help fund the costs of uninsured and underinsured people.  The money is mostly targeted to help reimburse hospitals which are required under federal law to provide care to the poor and uninsured.

How long LIP remains intact is the stumbling block to an agreement between the state and the federal government. Florida wants LIP to remain intact through June 2014 whereas the federal government wants it to expire June 2013, on the eve of a significant Medicaid expansion that would open the program up to many currently  uninsured residents.

After the waiver is extended Florida would like to amend it to implement a mandatory Medicaid managed care program passed by the Florida Legislature last year. The mandatory program would require most Medicaid patients to enroll in managed care plans.

Find this article here:  http://www.thefloridacurrent.com/article.cfm?id=24985480