A move by Gov. Rick Scott’s administration to eliminate a long-standing policy that gives poor, disabled and elderly Floridians 90 days to qualify for the Medicaid program isn’t getting support from people who care for patients or from patients’ family members.
More than 100 comments from people such as physicians, nursing-home and hospital executives and family members were sent to the federal government opposing the proposed change, which the Scott administration submitted for approval in April.
Agency for Health Care Administration spokeswoman Mallory McManus dismissed the criticisms and said the policy change was “about paperwork, not patient care.” She said the proposal focused on quick enrollment into the Medicaid program.
“By enrolling individuals quickly, you ensure better-coordinated fully integrated care, as well as access to preventative services,” McManus said.
But Anne Swerlick, a health care attorney with the Florida Policy Institute [emphasis added], noted that most low-income adults in Florida are prevented from accessing coverage when they are healthy, or even when they suffer from serious chronic conditions, so there isn’t an opportunity to coordinate care and provide preventive services.
“It's a cruel irony that Florida's justifications for cutting (retroactive Medicaid eligibility) are the best arguments for why Florida needs to expand its Medicaid program,” Swerlick said. [News Service of Florida]