State Capital Briefs (Evening Edition): Friday, March 17
The News Service of Florida
Arguing that the changes could save hundreds of millions of dollars a year, Gov. Rick Scott's administration Friday asked the federal government for more flexibility in running the Medicaid program. Justin Senior, secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, sent a four-page letter to U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price that outlined a series of proposed changes sought by the state. "Health care decisions made here at the local level will always be more useful and successful than decisions made by the federal government in Washington," the letter said. "Florida can deliver better care in a far more efficient manner. Together, we can put Florida in the position to provide the best Medicaid services --- without removing anyone from our current Medicaid program." Federal laws govern much of the Medicaid program, and Washington provides a large chunk of the funding. The state's requests include seeking a block grant of federal funds to replace what are known as "supplemental payment" programs. In such programs, money is targeted for specific issues, such as boosting payments to hospitals that care for large numbers of indigent patients. Among other things, the Scott administration is requesting discretion in setting rates for Medicaid managed-care plans and more authority in determining whether plans have adequate networks.