Florida Chamber Releases A Smarter Healthcare Coverage Plan
By: Edie Ousley
Seven Part Plan Aims to Eliminate $1.4 Billion in Hidden Healthcare Tax on Floridians
TALLAHASSEE, FL. (January 13, 2014) – In its ongoing efforts to secure Florida’s future by making Florida more competitive, the Florida Chamber of Commerce today released its Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan. This seven-point comprehensive healthcare plan calls for bending the cost curve for Florida’s families and job creators by eliminating the $1.4 billion in hidden healthcare taxes.
The Florida Chamber remains significantly concerned about the growth of federal entitlements and resulting erosion of our freedoms, and therefore opposes the traditional expansion of Medicaid unless an alternative plan – one that embraces private solutions with flexible steps to eliminate the $1.4 billion cost shift on Florida families and caps Florida’s Medicaid budget at 32 percent – is put in place.
Unlike the federal government, and what some groups believe, expanding healthcare coverage should not be “an all or nothing deal”. The Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan:
- Eliminates the expensive and burdensome $1.4 billion hidden tax on Florida’s families and businesses,
- Improves access to healthcare through innovation and an expanded field of healthcare professionals, and
- Produces better health and economic outcomes by reducing fraud, lawsuit abuse and inflated workers’ comp costs.
Currently, Floridians pay an additional $1.4 billion in hidden healthcare taxes to cover healthcare received by the uninsured. That’s about $2,000 on insured Floridians for every hospital stay to cover the cost of the uninsured. And, uninsured healthcare costs are expected to rise as the federal government ends funding for the Low Income Pool (LIP).
With approval by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 28 states have initiated some version of flexible healthcare solutions to meet their states needs. Recently, the Florida Chamber urged HHS Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell to reopen conversations with Florida’s elected leaders, and work toward a Florida solution. Maximum flexibility to cover Florida’s uninsured would help prevent the $1.4 billion hidden tax forced onto families and job creators.
The Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan will help ensure taxpayers benefit from accepting federal dollars instead of being punished by shifting even more costs of extended healthcare coverage to families and businesses. This plan is a cost efficient, sustainable healthcare model that provides coverage to the uninsured and eliminates the cost shift.
“As Florida prepares to welcome six million new residents by 2030, Florida has an important opportunity to get healthcare coverage right,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “As lawmakers consider ending the $1.4 billion cost shift on Floridians, the Florida Chamber is continuing to play an integral role in helping reform our state’s healthcare system.”
Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida:
- Smarter Healthcare Coverage
Eliminating the cost shift on Florida’s families and small businesses by addressing the cost equation. Limiting the overall financial impact on the Medicaid budget to no more than 32 percent, and providing allowing for a “flow through” of savings to Floridians in the form of lower insurance premiums.
- Healthcare Delivery System and Medical Professional Capacity
Ensuring Florida’s healthcare delivery system has the capacity to respond at a high level of quality and meet the needs of Floridians. Allowing telemedicine to serve as an alternative healthcare delivery system, increasing the capacity and number of medical professionals by allowing nurse practitioners and physician assistants to practice to their fullest potential, and decreasing Florida’s growing need for physicians by expanding medical residency positions.
- Lawsuit Abuse Reform
A Major Cost Driver: Attracting and retaining the best medical professional’s calls for improving on Florida’s bottom 10 legal environment and preventing meritless lawsuits and penalties that deter doctors from entering the medical field.
- Workers’ Compensation
A Major Cost Driver: Ensuring Florida’s workers’ comp system is fair and not inflated by trial lawyer tactics and other unnecessary costs will help lower the cost of doing business in Florida.
- Healthcare Fraud
A Major Cost Driver: Eliminating healthcare fraud and abuse will lower total healthcare costs.
- Step Therapy and Prior Authorization
Opposing current legislation that would undermine the use of prior authorization and step therapy protocols in Florida.
- Medicaid Managed Care
Opposing efforts to undermine the tenets of the managed care model – including the so-called ‘any willing provider’ provision.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce is the voice of business and the state’s largest federation of employers, chambers of commerce and associations, aggressively representing small and large businesses from every industry and every region. The Florida Chamber works within all branches of government to affect those changes set forth in the annual Florida Business Agenda, and which are seen as critical to secure Florida’s future. The Florida Chamber works closely with its Political Operations and the Florida Chamber Foundation. Visit www.FloridaChamber.com for more information.