TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Florida Senate is expected Thursday to take up one of its top priorities of the session, an enormous overhaul of the Medicaid system.

While the measure may be coming to the floor in the second-to-last day of the session, legislative leaders point out that it’s not a new idea and the bill will track issues vetted in committees over the last year.

With behind-the-scenes negotiations continuing, House and Senate leaders said Wednesday the bill likely will not include a threat to exit the federal program if Florida can’t get changes it wants.

Senators included such a threat in their initial version of the Medicaid rewrite, contending the state could run the program itself. But withdrawing from the federal program could cost Florida billions of dollars in a aid from Washington.

Senate President Mike Haridopolos and House Speaker Dean Cannon said they expect a compromise bill to go to the Senate on Thursday, the next-to-last-day of the legislative session. If approved by the Senate, it then would have to go to the House.

“I’m increasingly optimistic that, yes, Medicaid will get done,” said Cannon, a Winter Park Republican.

Haridopolos and Cannon also indicated the bill likely will not include a “medical loss ratio” for managed-care plans, which are expected to eventually enroll almost all Medicaid beneficiaries. Such ratios are designed to make sure plans spend certain percentages of money on patient care.

Instead, lawmakers probably will seek to use a system in which managed-care plans would have to share some profits with the state. That move would come despite a letter last week from the federal government indicating that it will require medical-loss ratios.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The News Service of Florida contributed to this report.)

Comments (2)
  1. tired says:

    Why are they opposed to a medical loss ratio? Because without it they can spend the money any way they want, hiring six administrators per patient, and give the ceo’s of these “managed care plans” huge salaries. Leaving the door wide open to fraud and corruption, so that in the next election they can say that they put soo many people to work and at the same time justify eliminating the program because it’s too expensive and corrupt. If they truly don’t want the government subsidizing healthcare, why are they so happy to subsidise the healthcare industry by giving tax dollars to managed health care companies?

  2. Jerbo49 says:

    I do not think that Medicaid was ever supposed to be profitable. Share profits with the state? Florida should be allowed to take profits from the backs of the poor? Who are these people in the Senate. They are not Americans.

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