Speaking as someone who once sat in that chair at a home health care agency submitting requests to Medicaid I’d like to shed some light on the problem here.
The problem is not with the concept of Medicaid. Medicaid, as originally intended, provided a life line to the poor and disabled to obtain health care. However, thanks to partisan cost-cutting by Republicans on a national and state level the program is but a shell of what it once was, with myraid rules and accountability to prevent fraud and yearly caps on treatment costs.
In Florida, the greatest change to Medicaid occurred in 2005 when then Gov. Jeb Bush rammed the “privatization” of Medicaid through the state’s legislature. Bush’s Medicaid Czar, Alan Levine, an insurance company lobbyist, devised a haphazard plan to hand the entire system over to the insurance companies to manage.
The resultant changes have resulted in loss of care to thousands of patients, refusal to honor payments to providers, and the subsequent refusal of physicians to treat Medicaid patients. Why provide care when it might be months, even years, to be reimbursed for your service?
A report by the Kaiser Foundation highlighted the failures of the proposed changes to Florida Medicaid to deaf ears. It’s funny how many of the items cited are the same talking points Republicans are using today to spread misinformation on President Obama’s proposed health care reform:
Florida’s waiver moves away from the traditional insurance concept of shared risk to individual risk. The state plans to use historical utilization data to develop individual risk scores to reflect health care needs to derive the premiums allotted to individuals. Therefore, the accuracy of the scores will be critical to assuring whether individuals can access adequate coverage.
You see, Kelly, Chuck’s problems are indicative of why health care reform is needed. President Obama’s plan will not only allow Chuck the opportunity to obtain health care through a Private Option, it will also streamline Medicaid to provide a uniform program without all the fraud and mismanagement so prevalent today – thus saving millions of dollars.
And allowing Chuck to receive the proper care he needs.