The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Florida gets approval to gut Medicaid

Oct 24, 2005

The state of Florida got approval from the federal government to transform its Medicaid program into a gift to private insurers, at the expense of Medicaid recipients.

Under the changes, the state will no longer administer the program, or decide what benefits people will get. The program will be administered by private health plans, who will take a cut off the top. They will decide what benefits people get.

The state will also shift its Medicaid from a “defined benefit” plan to a “defined contribution” plan. That means that the state will set a yearly money cap on every adult in the plan. Once that money is gone, that person will be out of benefits – and out of luck – until the next year.

And, finally, the Florida plan will include co-pays and premiums. When a couple of other states, Minnesota and Oregon, started co-pays and premiums, their Medicaid enrollment dropped by half. The people enrolled in Medicaid are so cash-strapped that even six-dollar-per-month premiums and three-dollar-per-prescription co-pays had a huge impact.

Who are the people thus harmed? The elderly poor, the disabled, children, mothers with infants, the so-called “working poor.” Florida’s wealthy politicians have tossed them to the wolves!

Other states are watching eagerly to see what they can get away with.