Florida Chamber’s ‘Smarter Healthcare’ Plan Aims to Eliminate $1.4 Billion in Hidden Tax

By: Florida Chamber of Commerce

By: Sunshine State News

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.

The chamber’s seven-point comprehensive health care plan calls for “bending the cost curve for Florida’s families and job creators by eliminating the $1.4 billion in hidden health care taxes.”
In a prepared announcement, the Florida Chamber said it 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.”

Said Mark Wilson, president and CEO of the Florida Chamber, “As Florida prepares to welcome 6 million new residents by 2030, Florida has an important opportunity to get health care coverage right. 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 health care system.”

Wilson claims, unlike the federal government, and what some groups believe, expanding health care coverage should not be “an all or nothing deal.” The Florida Chamber says its Smarter Healthcare Coverage in Florida plan does this:

  • Eliminates the expensive and burdensome $1.4 billion hidden tax on Florida’s families and businesses,
  • Improves access to health care through innovation and an expanded field of health care 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 health care taxes to cover health care 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 health care 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 health care 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 has been designed to help ensure taxpayers benefit from accepting federal dollars instead of being punished by shifting even more costs of extended health care coverage to families and businesses. “This plan is a cost-efficient, sustainable health care model that provides coverage to the uninsured and eliminates the cost shift,” says the chamber.

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.
  • Health Care Delivery System and Medical Professional Capacity: Ensuring Florida’s health care 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 health care 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 professionals 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.
  • Health Care Fraud – A Major Cost Driver: Eliminating health care fraud and abuse will lower total health care 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.

Download a copy of the Florida Chamber’s Smarter Healthcare Plan for Florida by clicking here or by visiting www.FloridaChamber.com/HealthCareSolutions.