Medicaid-expansion alternative more costly

 

As state after state has signed on to the Medicaid expansion offered under the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA), Florida Republican legislators have dug in their heels.

First, the Florida House, then the Florida Senate Select Committee voted to reject Medicaid expansion. While committee chair Sen. Joe Negron said that he had an alternative to the federal plan, it appears that, even though he has had months to formulate one, he did not have any details to present at the panel’s hearings.

Under the ACA, Medicaid expansion would provide medical coverage to almost 1 million Floridians. Many, if not most, are working. Their incomes are just above current Medicaid income limit, and their employers do not provide them medical coverage. This would bring in more than $50 billion to Florida over the next 10 years and provide critical healthcare to needy Floridians. The federal government with support 100 percent of the program for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.

Members of the Senate Select Committee claimed that Medicaid is a broken program, but they did not present a single piece of supporting evidence. Several days after the Senate Select Committee hearings, Negron did present an alternative plan that would essentially expand the current Florida KidCare program, which offers low-cost health-insurance plans for eligible children.

These plans are offered through private health-insurance companies. The overhead costs are reported to be between about 18 percent and 23 percent. The overhead costs of Medicaid, depending on how it is calculated, is only a small fraction of the overhead costs of private health-insurance companies. In addition, according to the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, at 6.1 percent, per-enrollee cost growth in Medicaid is lower than that of under Medicare (6.9), private health insurance (10.6) and monthly premiums for employer-sponsored insurance (12.6).

The program that Negron has proposed would allow the private, participating health-insurance companies to charge up to 15 percent overhead, much higher than that of Medicaid, and would allow for the per-enrollee cost growth of up to 12.6 percent. His proposal will reduce the funding available for patient care while increasing the profits of the participating private health insurance companies. That does not appear to be responsible or consistent with using taxpayer dollars in the most efficient manner possible. It only funnels 15 percent of the more than $50 billion that Florida would receive for Medicaid expansion — $7.5 billion — to private health-insurance companies and, I assume, their lobbyists. Something is not right here, and the public should be outraged.

Paul C. Hunt, South Miami

Read more Speak Up stories from the Miami Herald

  • FIU is thriving, let it continue to do so

    When I drove onto the FIU campus for my job interview in 1981, I thought “what an isolated and barren place.”

  •  
Natalie Altman

    The readers’ forum

    Aging gracefully? No way!

    I want to comment on Ms. Gina Barreca’s July 19 Other Views column on aging. She’s writing from the perspective of a 57-year-old woman; I’m 75. My perspective is living the process:

  •  
2005: Photograph taken the day Miami Dade School Boatd member Marta Perez met the late Maya Angelou at the 12th Annual 5000 Role Models of Excellence Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Unity Scholarship breakfast. Standing between them is the unidentified boy Perez introduced to Angelou, who died last week.

    Marta Perez: The day I met Maya Angelou

    As time passes, people who impressed us in our youth, and who we associated with immortality, suddenly die. It astonishes us because they were so vibrant in our thoughts. It causes us to reminisce of happy memories associated with them. Such is the case with the passing this week of Maya Angelou.

Miami Herald

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category