News outlets report on Medicaid issues in Ohio and Florida.
The Associated Press/Bloomberg Businessweek: "A tight state budget will make an expansion of health care coverage for the poor and disabled unlikely in Ohio this year, an option given to states under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, the state's Medicaid chief said Thursday. ... it's unclear how many will use Medicaid to fill coverage gaps before 2014, when most of the health care provisions take effect. So far, only Connecticut and the District of Columbia submitted such proposals to the federal government."
"States will be required to extend Medicaid eligibility in 2014, covering people with incomes up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, or about $29,327 a year for a family of four. Also, childless adults will be covered for the first time. The federal government will pick up 100 percent of the cost for three years. After that, federal support gradually declines through 2020" (Leingang, 5/20).
Meanwhile, Health News Florida reports that "A massive overhaul of Florida's Medicaid system is on the shelf --- at least for now. But get ready for three more years of debates over the pilot managed-care program that former Gov. Jeb Bush left behind, with hearings starting Friday. The state Agency for Health Care Administration will hold the hearings as a prelude to filing a request with the federal government to continue the controversial program. It currently requires about 260,000 Medicaid recipients in five counties to get care through HMOs or provider-service networks."
"State lawmakers spent much of this spring's legislative session debating possible ways to overhaul the Medicaid system, primarily by moving more beneficiaries into managed-care plans. But the House and Senate did not agree on a plan" (Saunders, 5/20).
And, "A Jacksonville-based auditing firm’s $1.8 million annual contract with Florida’s Medicaid program is on shaky ground after state auditors found it had sharply increased its hourly rate while performing fewer audits," The Florida Times-Union reports. "In 2006, the state Agency for Health Care Administration awarded a no-bid contract to First Coast Service Options to audit cost reports submitted by hospitals. AHCA officials use the reports to help determine reimbursement rates for medical services provided to the 2.7 million Floridians in the state and federal insurance program." But "Auditor General David Martin’s report, released in late April, found that First Coast’s hourly rate grew 58 percent in three years," while the number of audits declined (Cox, 5/20).