Privatized Medicaid

In Broward County, doctors and patients have been participating in an experiment with privatizing Medicaid since 2006, when then-Gov. Bush enacted reforms he said would control skyrocketing costs and improve care through competition. The pilot program hit many pitfalls, but that didn't stop Scott from signing a law to expand it statewide. Now 3 million of Florida's poorest citizens, including kids, pregnant women, and elderly residents of nursing homes, will learn the joys of dealing with HMOs.

Currently, Medicaid patients either enroll in a state-contracted HMO or visit doctors who accept Medicaid's fee for the services they perform. Under the new plan — proposed by Scott's transition team and sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart) — patients must enroll in private HMO plans. The HMOs will have more power to change the "scope, duration, and level of benefits," says Laura Goodhue, executive director of the community health advocacy group Florida CHAIN. She fears the HMOs will limit services and deny claims.

Dirty Deed #2: Enacted Jim Crow-Style Voting Laws.
Illustration by Mark Poutenis
Dirty Deed #2: Enacted Jim Crow-Style Voting Laws.
Dirty Deed #7: Axed Funding for People With Disabilities.
Illustration by Mark Poutenis
Dirty Deed #7: Axed Funding for People With Disabilities.

In the pilot program that has been operating in Broward and four other counties since 2006, the results have been troubling. According to a 2008 Georgetown University review of the program, a majority of doctors complained that their patients were having a harder time getting care because of the maze of paperwork and limited benefits.

"The complexity of the program has grown, causing confusion and increased administrative burdens for consumers and providers," the report says. "Access to needed services appears to be worsening, according to both physicians and beneficiaries."

"The only way to save money is to delay and deny care," Goodhue says. "People are getting the runaround."

A state-funded study by University of Florida researchers shows that Medicaid expenditures decreased in Broward and Duval counties during the first two years of the pilot program but cautioned, "It is not known whether these savings are sustainable over time."

The saving grace may be that before it can be implemented statewide, the reform plan must be approved by federal officials, because more than half of Medicaid's funding comes from the federal government, Goodhue says.

Acted Sketchy About Solantic

Let's say you're a multimillionaire who amassed his wealth running a health-care company and then decided to run for governor. Immediately after taking office, you start proposing and supporting legislation regarding health-care issues: privatizing Medicaid, requiring drug tests for state workers and welfare recipients, opposing a database that would track the sale of addictive prescription drugs. Unfortunately, the citizens of Florida are not total morons, and they realize that you, as governor, might actually profit from some of these proposals.

Turns out you still own a chain of urgent-care clinics that happen to offer $35 drug tests! Technically the $62 million investment in Solantic is in your wife's name. You moved it to the Frances Annette Scott Revocable Trust a few days before taking office. But it's tough to believe you're not still raking in the dough.

So do you apologize? Do you stage a public mea culpa and admit your conflict of interest? Not if you're Rick Scott. Instead, you wait for the media and the public to get so angry that someone files an ethics complaint against you. Then you rush to sell off your shares in the company. That's not suspicious at all.

Axed Funding for People With Disabilities

Need to trim your budget? There's no swifter solution than taking money from people who are physically incapable of fighting back.

The state Agency for Persons With Disabilities was running a $170 million deficit this spring when Scott decided to start slicing. Tasked with supporting 30,000 people with developmental disabilities, the agency had never been good at living within its means. Since 2005, it has shifted 5,000 clients from its waiting list to its roster but has never sufficiently increased its budget, says Kimberley Thompson, director of community relations for Sunrise Community, a Miami-based nonprofit agency that serves the disabled. Scott insisted he was rescuing the agency by forcing it to tighten its belt.

He issued an emergency order cutting payments to caregivers — the behavioral therapists, nurses, and others who take care of people with cerebral palsy, autism, and other disabilities — by 15 percent. The government sets their fees based on the service they provide — anything from driving clients to the grocery store to speech therapy — so the impact of the payment cut varied widely. But some smaller, nonprofit providers said the cuts would put them out of business, Thompson says.

After a storm of protests from concerned parents and advocates, the state Legislature found a way to temporarily fill the budget gap, and Scott rescinded his emergency order. The agency's funding was restored for 2011, but it now must make 4 percent cuts for the fiscal year that starts in July.

Thompson is glad Scott changed his mind but says the governor and legislators need to learn more about how the agency for the disabled is run and where the money goes.

"I prefer to give him the benefit of the doubt, that he didn't intentionally harm thousands of people around the state," she says. "Once he was educated, he did make a better decision."

Gave Tax Breaks to Businesses; Cut Jobless Benefits

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16 comments
Donna Bird
Donna Bird

You got to read this Article again, oh my goodness, I am become even more speechless- Why in the world did any one voted for these group of idioits. They used FEAR, and this FEAR, should be sued for Bulley people to believe a felon, he is a felon even though he is not convicted.

huweiwei
huweiwei

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WakeUp
WakeUp

Wow, surprised at the morons supporting the worst governor in the county.  I guess there are plenty of tea party rednecks that don't know what's good for them.  The uber-wealthy are using your ignorance to further their self interests.  If you're making under $200,000 a year, they aren't on your side...

Harv
Harv

Eric is really taking this paper down. What a rag it's become. It's amazing he can find someone willing to write this crap.

Jhop052
Jhop052

Ha ha... Go gov. Scott! Keep taking down these communist scum lib-tards!!!! Gotta love dumb-ass lisas' comment about sending the $400 million back to congress to solve???, the fed. Budget crisis...I guess that didn't work either??? Hey lib-tard Lisa.....we still have a budget crisis you stupid bitch!!! Go to hell you commie moron!!!

PROUD_TEXAN
PROUD_TEXAN

Whaaaa! Whaaaa! Whaaaa!

Nice socialist propaganda hit piece Lisa.

Burt Scholl
Burt Scholl

This gives some small idea of the extent to which the people of Florida have been afflicted by this vicious regime

Theresa Reynolds
Theresa Reynolds

Great article Lisa!   Scott is a slime ball...and those who voted for him - should accept responsibility for the deplorable condition our state is in.   Think before you vote you idiots!

Glen in Glendale
Glen in Glendale

You're right, Brickell, he's terrific, and the 71% of people who would vote for a ham sandwich over Rick Scott are all idiots. We should have just interviewed you for the article.

Voiceless in Brickell
Voiceless in Brickell

I posted a comment an hour ago that was critical of the level of bias and lack of objectivity in the article above. There was nothing inappropriate but it was nonetheless removed. The article was written provocatively was it not? If not, the refusal to acknowledge bias is a feat deserving of applause.

Middle Class Floridian
Middle Class Floridian

Lisa, I commend you on such a brave article...you are my hero.  Finally, someone is not afraid to speak out about our beloved governor.  I loved every bit of it.  I only hope the next great article you publish will be about this Ricktatorship falling apart and impeachment has been enacted or maybe the chance to recall this governor has finally been approved.It is a sad time when the horrible things that Dick Scott does to the middle class Floridians is no longer a surprise; yet when he does something nice “for the people,” I find myself wondering what’s in it for him.

KennyPowersII
KennyPowersII

Singling out Florida may not be fair. There is a fairly proportionate array of dumb ass voters  nationwide. i.e. Wisconsin, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, et al are some prime examples. Check out those governors. I will grant you that Ricky boy has done more damage to the most residents in the shortest time span possible. Now the same voters base that gave him 54 % has decided they don't like him to the tune of a mid 20 % approval rate. WTF happened? Morons is the best I can label them.

Judy Lau
Judy Lau

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Aalan
Aalan

What's to be proud of PROUD_TEXAN? Rick Perry? Another idiot governor.

 
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