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800,000 Floridians, Most of them Children, Could Be Booted Off Medicaid Coverage

| December 7, 2011

Dennis Kucinich at a September rally for Medicaid, sponsored by some 80 advocacy organizations. (David Sachs / SEIU)

About 800,000 people may be forced out of the state’s Medicaid program if they must pay the $10 per month premium proposed by the Florida Legislature last spring, according to a report released today. (The report appears below.)

More than 660,000 of those who lose coverage are likely to be children, says the study, a part of a series from Georgetown University and the Jessie Ball duPont Fund. (Disclosure: The Jessie Ball duPont Fund is an underwriter of Health News Florida.)

The change could cut nearly in half the number of Floridians enrolled in Medicaid, the state’s health insurance for the poor and disabled, said Joan Alker, a co-author of the report.

Children will bear the brunt of the losses, largely because there are far more children than adults enrolled in Florida’s Medicaid program, Alker said.

“If (other) states do have premiums for children, it’s at higher income levels. There’s nothing else as broad as this in the entire country,” she said.

Researchers analyzed experiences from other states that charge premiums and used a formula to determine how many people are likely to lose coverage, Alker said.

A one-parent, two-child family that earns $11,000 per year would pay about $360 per year in premiums, or 3 percent of their incomes, the report states.

Nursing home patients would be exempt from payment, the report says.

The premiums are part of a larger Medicaid reform package that would move nearly all of Florida’s Medicaid recipients into managed care plans. The reform and the premiums are both pending approval from the federal government, which pays more than half of the cost of the Medicaid program.

A pilot version of the reform has reaped controversial results in Broward, Duval and three rural counties. A University of Florida study found that privatizing Medicaid may save some money. Critics contend that any savings came at the expense of needed care.

The latest to weigh in, a conservative Naples group called the Foundation for Government Accountability, said in a recent report that the pilot not only saved money but raised patient health outcomes and satisfaction rates.

Lawmakers hope that the overhaul will help plug millions in the state budget, but the motivation for the premium charge appears to be more “philosophical,” the Georgetown report says.

Rep. Matt Hudson (R-Naples), chairman of the Florida House Appropriations Sub-committee, argued for the proposal on the House floor, saying the change would make people “personally responsible for their own health.”

“Everyone else in society is paying a portion of their own health care, including the military and retirees,” he said. “So why shouldn’t this segment of the population?”

Hudson declined to comment for this article.

Rep. Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood), a vocal opponent of the overhaul, said she doesn’t believe people should treat state-run services like the private sector.

“It’s totally unrealistic that these people could pay this premium, it’s punishing…I can’t comprehend it,” she said.

Laura Goodhue, of health-advocacy group Florida CHAIN, said she frequently sees people for whom the premium would be an impossible reach.

“There are so many things that could prevent people from paying,” she said. “Are they homeless? Do they have a bank account? It’s a huge barrier, even if you don’t look at affordability.”

–Brittany Davis, Health News Florida

Health News Florida reporter Brittany Alana Davis can be reached at 954-239-8968 or by e-mail.

Medicaid Report

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46 Responses for “800,000 Floridians, Most of them Children, Could Be Booted Off Medicaid Coverage”

  1. palmcoaster says:

    And Kip lets do not forget that all those looong local governments workshops have in attendance those $1,200/hour “consultants” telling them and us how we can sc….w, ourselves better!
    Comes by easy to pay them with other peoples monies, aka the tax payers.


  2. palmcoaster says:

    We differ here…between the A) One of the 10% in one side and B) I and maybe Kip in the other.
    Maybe A) comfortably seating at his laptop in his nice home office setting after a comfortable retirement package earned for some VIP/management “well deserved” and earned position in a large corporation, Nothing wrong with it, except that his good life and good fortunes well deserved, make him forget to take a pick out the window of his home/or gated community or his Lexus and can’t see the sad reality. B) instead is still working his business that still provides him with a comfortable life but also exposes him more to the unbecoming situation of his fellow man in distress with many businesses folding over around him to no fault of their own, just for lack of sales and the unemployed knocking to their doors and leaving their resumes looking for work, to no avail. B) is really exposed to the tragedies of his country men, women and children. I had a young neighbor about 34 years old with a wife and 2 little children that shot himself to death over loosing his job in Central Florida in 2008. Maybe, we do not turn the page or go to the next site when our peoples financial or war tragedies are reported. Maybe that makes the difference between us.


  3. Ella says:

    Ok Palmcoaster, should we expect to see you on the ballot in the next election cycle? :)


  4. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    VIP management??? Give me a damn break. If it doesn’t agree with you and Kip, it must be a terrible idea. It’s ok, I get it. Not worth discussing, just demean and get on with it.


  5. palmcoaster says:

    @One of the 10%…I said VIP/management and meant one or de other and there is nothing wrong with the positions, to the contrary should be proud if you did and receive the rewards of your dedicated work..
    No intention to demean you at all.


  6. Doug Chozianin says:

    Will the hate-speech mongers please tone it down.

    Why is it necessary to spew invectives especially when describing conservative republicans?

    Are your comments so empty of reason that you need insolence to attract attention?


    • Kip Durocher says:

      You are right again doug.

      I think when describing conservative republicans vituperation would be much more appropriate than simply “to spew invectives.”

      A single mother, with two children, who has an income of 11k a year ~ charging her for half-assed healthcare ~ objecting to that is empty of reason.

      But I do take umbrage at “insolence.” Do you think it insolent to call scott governator baldo?


      • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

        What do you suggest, Kip? Pay her $1,000 a mo. per child so she can become a baby machine? There’s a woman over in Tampa with 14 kids we’re paying for.

        I think you’re crude and rude much of the time and I think you enjoy that.

        Most people in her situation would get another job. That’s what most of us do when we can’t get by. We look for ways to improve our situation, even if that means getting two jobs, moving to another state, or moving in with a group of women to share expenses.

        She has to take some responsibility for herself. It is not up to me to do it for her. She has to try and improve her situation.


  7. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    No, the only intention you had was class warfare. Do you think this is helping our country, our people? Everytime I open my mouth, either you or Kip do your best with a put down.

    You know what? I am coming to the conclusion neither of you is worth the response.



    • Kip Durocher says:

      easy dude what are you hollering at me for?
      did you read above “damn good idea ” ~ that was me responding to one of your ideas
      If, an when I “put you down” there will be no doubt of my intentions
      ~ unless Pierre won’t let it up, as occasionally my A=anarchy overrides my P=progressive and requires I=intervention.
      palmcoaster is a gentleman and would not ever intentionally insult or demean you.

      and I did my time U.S. Army ~ 2 years in the 60s and then , from that experience moved from politically neutral to anti-war and from there after a nixon rape of the constitution, and the carter rape of critical thought, and the raygun rape of the savings and loans, (where jeb and what’shisnamebush got rich) and the constitution, and the clinton rape of decency, and the bush rape of the constitution, the law, the banks, the stock market and now President Zero ~ I became a progressive bordering on anarchist at times.

      We need more political parties ~ we need campaign reform ~real not pretend reform
      We need judicial reform ~ no rational non-mental human will tell you that a corporation is a person.
      When a human gets chewed up in a thingamaggi machine at a factory the corporation looks to get out of
      the situation as cheaply as possible (I have been in negotiations like that on both sides) ~ the corportaion does not feel sorrow or compassion for the family of the dead human.The PR minions might.

      Class warfare started the United States of America. People in North America refused to pay taxes to the “better quality of people” an ocean away for no reason other than they were better.


  8. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    The only thing wrong with you and Kip is that you both assume nobody cares about the poor, but you. That’s arrogant and I’m tired of it. I’d say we’re all living it, wouldn’t you? I don’t think we need to be constantly reminded about how bad things are right now.

    Reread your post. You meant every word of it.

    Next you’ll be calling me a terrorist.


  9. palmcoaster says:

    Now comes up the class warfare… actually started by the current conservationist.
    Talking about military ..I am the (not less) proud parent, of a navy veteran myself and that is why I ended up in PC and also because I have always liked Dixie.
    Actually I don’t believe that many of us here express our concerns or joy looking for anyone’s response in particular.. I think we just do it to inform each other more or less of what is intended to be swept under the rag by other media sources or just conveniently hidden or distorted by some of the one’s at the helm, sometimes.. So maybe we can diminish the: “Keep them ignorant and conquer them”


    • Kip Durocher says:

      kudos ,
      and i do so enjoy the posts your complete liberation of syntax allows you to scribe here

      the peeps in USA are gettin’ played like cheap fiddles.
      And to make matters worse ~ bunches of ‘em applaude it.


  10. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    Didn’t mean to imply that either you or Kip are anti military. I only meant you are quick to judge people based on politics.

    What’s it gotten any of us, except some terrible leaders? In this current climate of “hope and change”, I’m not sure what people are looking for anymore, but if we don’t pitch in together and roll up our sleeves, we won’t have it much longer, any of it. I’d kinda planned on leaving something to my kids. I worked hard to do that.

    This is a great country. It offers us all kinds of opportunity, but we must work for it. We’ve gotta stop handing it to everyone because we all deserve this or that. What’s wrong with working for a living? Why should someone having money be a bad thing? That’s like sayin responsibility is a bad word. We don’t like to use that word anymore.

    The government got us here, not the people, not the corporations, it was the government.

    We’ve gotta stop labeling people and listen more. Everybody is busy expressing their concerns, but I’m not seeing any solutions. And I know I’m damned sure tired of the name calling. You can’t BE respected unless you’re willing to first respect the views of others.

    Do we agree? Hell, no. But I’ll listen. I’ll always listen.


  11. Kyle Russell says:

    Gosh, those single parents making $11,000 are such lucky duckies. If only I could pay so little for health care! And like Oneofthe10% says, they also get SSI, food stamps, and welfare checks. I really wish I could trade places with them, such a fantastic quality of life.


    • Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

      Sorry if it offends you that people need to take some responsibility for themselves, Kyle. But too many are accepting it because it is easier to do, or they have given up.

      If I can live off unemployment, why should I look for a job?

      If this were your quality of life, what would you do to improve it? Just about anything, I’d guess.


  12. Kyle Russell says:

    That point of view ignores the fact that sometimes, life doesn’t put you in circumstances where you can do much to help yourself. Sometimes people really are stuck, and we shouldn’t act like the middle class is being screwed over to support them when these people would give anything to trade places with the people helping to subsidize their livelihoods.


  13. Oneofthe10%whovoted says:

    I’ve been there, Kyle. There is always much you can do to help yourself. But you must want to do that first.

    We must all work hard together or it won’t work.


  14. palmcoaster says:

    Not that the distressed mom didn’t try hard for her children and herself to subsist:
    Does anyone believe that the 1/3 of the total of homeless American families in our country currently in Florida chose to be in this condition? or are doing nothing to change it? I posted this before, please watch it, after the unavoidable advertisement… :;storyMediaBox. The positive aftermath of the televised tragedy and thanks to the “warm hearted compassionate donations of our good old American fellow citizens”.


  15. Devrie says:

    I didn’t read all the comments, but this is to FlaglerNative…

    I’m an ex-liberal, not-at-all conservative who has this to say: I think part of the problem with our social safety net is that many programs overlap. If you are a single parent making just over 24k with 2 kids, you are eligible for almost anything. If the foodstamps add up to a couple hundred a month, and the rental assistance adds up to about $400 or $500 a month, and Medical insurance adds up to a couple hundred a month…then that single mom is gaining almost $10,800 a year in Gov’t benefits. Add to that the fact that she only pays FICA and little to no other taxes and will more than likely recieve at the minimum, $4,000 in the form of a tax refund . Many get $8,000 or even more, depending on number of children and earned income. So now, though she earns only just over 24K a year, she’s worth at least $38K.

    A woman with the same number of children, earning just over $37K a year would not likely be eligible for any kind of assistance. She will be paying taxes and medical out of that.

    But if 24K can’t pay her light bill, she’ll be eligible to receive assistance for that too!

    So, the thing is this…I believe we need these safety nets. People work hard and not all of us are well-equipped to be engineers or accountants. Those low-level workers provide a very useful function to our society. Those who do not work ever, may provide a function that is not associated with work. Senior citizens and disabled people sometimes need nets too.

    I can’t fathom just taking them away from everyone. Also $10 a month seems like crumbs, but I worked with some hard-working poor people who just couldn’t pass the GED for anything! They’d try and try and try…I think of the few I knew, some of them had un-diagnosed learning disorders, but they had too much pride to find out or to apply for disability. They’d work as medical aids and cleaning ladies, for $8.00, but then had to pay self-employment taxes out of that, which ended up being way more than they’d pay if they were employed by an employer!! They scraped all they could just to pay a $40 light bill!

    It’s more the system, I think, then a ton of lazy people. People inherently want to be valuable, and we tend to put a lot of value on work ethic and monetary self-sufficiency in our culture. A lot of people are messed up, but we really don’t see news articles about the single dad who works a normal job to raise his two kids when the factory closed, so now he receives rental assistance, but lives in a nicely kept home. It’s not noteworthy.


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