Op-Ed

Influencers: What’s best for Florida’s health: Single payer? Repeal ACA? Free market? More Medicaid, or less?

We asked Influencers what Florida’s next governor and Legislature should make their top priorities when it comes to healthcare:

“Next session I would love to see the Legislature and the governor tackle a truly comprehensive telemedicine authorization legislation package.

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Davis

Telemedicine allows for cost reduction as well as enhanced access to high-quality care. It also democratizes the process by allowing patients greater choice of providers.’’

Jaret Davis, co-managing shareholder, Greenberg Traurig Miami office

“The problem with government involvement in healthcare is that it makes healthcare expensive, inefficient and lowers the quality of care, hurting the vulnerable the most.

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McClure

Access to coverage is not the same as access to quality care, and Medicaid has been shown time and time again to provide sub-quality access and sub-quality care, at great cost to the taxpayer. Elected officials should expand direct primary care as an option for Florida’s Medicaid participants, which will improve quality and access, while lowering price.’’

Bob McClure, president, James Madison Institute

“Florida’s next governor and Legislature must address so-called “social determinants of health.” Everything from access to food, education or safe housing are considered social determinants and have a major impact on our health.

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Burdick

Recent studies show medical care accounts for only 10 to 20 percent of health outcomes; the rest can be attributed to individual behavior and social and environmental factors. After all, it’s difficult to prioritize your health when you don’t have access to healthy food or lack reliable transportation to and from your doctor’s office. Addressing social determinants requires broad support from our political leaders, community-based organizations and social services, and the entire medical community to find innovative ways to better integrate social services into the delivery of care. Ensuring vulnerable Floridians have the basics — food, clothing, shelter and medicine — is not just the right thing to do for their health, it’s the right thing to do. ‘’

Ken Burdick, CEO, Wellcare Health Plans

“Stop Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse saving millions.

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Spencer

Investigate unnecessary high healthcare cost. Encourage Congress to repeal the healthcare act.’’

Wendy Spencer, CEO, Leadership Florida

“Our next governor needs to understand the state of public health in Florida. Requesting an updated briefing on areas of pressing need would help facilitate the design of a comprehensive health improvement process that focuses efforts where they will be most effective, from funding to programs to coordination.

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Fuchs

For our state, the next governor would be well served to give some attention to supplemental funding program (sometimes called “low income pool” or “LIP”). The federal government created the opportunity for Florida to access $1.5 billion worth of funding for people through this program, but care providers are only able to draw down under $600 million. This funding is used predominantly by the safety-net hospitals, federally qualified health centers, and medical schools, who are dealing with those who fall between the cracks — people who don’t have Medicaid, Medicare and may not have a job that provides health insurance. Another item for the next governor’s attention is Medicaid. This program has been cut over the years, and these cuts disproportionately impact those hospitals who make it their mission to serve our most vulnerable citizens. The state should gradually reverse the cuts that have been made over the years. Mental health should be another priority. Rather than just provide more funding for mental health as a whole, Florida should conduct an in-depth analysis of current offerings and determine which services are most needed and how to properly fund those services.’’

Kent Fuchs, president, University of Florida.

“Bottom line, people are hurting and need affordable healthcare. There must be a pragmatic look at healthcare costs that balances need, supply and affordability.

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Back in 2006, I lived in Indonesia and had a double hernia surgery in a top flight hospital with a one-night stay in a private room. The entire thing cost me $2,000. I know that healthcare can never be that cheap in America, but there has to be a reasonable balance.’’

Ken Lawson, president and CEO, Visit Florida

“Health is a basic human right . Even though we are the most powerful nation in the world , we’ve not invested in the health of our citizens as we should.

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Bastien

We are one of the few developed countries in the world that does not provide universal healthcare to its citizens, and it is having an impact in our quality of life here in America. We might think that we are saving when, in fact, we spent more because folks wait until they get very sick to access care and, more often, they end in acute care or at the trauma center. It makes strong economic sense to have a single-payer system where every one can access healthcare whether of not they can afford to pay. It is high time that the most powerful nation on Earth join the cadre of developed nations by providing universal healthcare to all . It is the smart, economic and humane thing to do.

Marleine Bastien, executive director, Family Action Network Movement

“If we combined employer coverage and existing government coverage programs and added the 90 percent funding model available through the federal government related to expanded Medicaid, we would be closing in on universal healthcare coverage that is financially responsible.

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Tol

The fact is that we all bear the cost of uncovered individuals and, generally, at a higher rate because the emergency room is Option One rather than primary care, which is Option One for covered individuals.’’

Daryl Tol, CEO, Florida Hospital























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