Gov. Scott meets with Secretary Sebelius over health care

kathleen sebeliousFlorida Gov. Rick Scott released the following statement regarding his meeting on Monday with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss health care:

In my family, we seldom saw a physician growing up. My parents struggled financially. My father was a long-distance truck driver, and he was often laid off when department stores were fully stocked. My mother had a hard time finding work that would allow her to also raise five children. When one of my younger brothers had a hip disease, my parents agonized over how they would pay for his treatment. A Shriners Hospital For Children more than 200 miles away came to the rescue. I remember how appreciative my mother was after each visit. I know from experience that parents want their children to have the best health care possible. This means they need access to quality care they can afford.

On Monday, I will meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in Washington to discuss the health care challenges facing Florida families. I look forward to discussing ideas for addressing the issues of health care cost, quality and access. Reforms like our Statewide Medicaid Managed Care proposal (which is currently with Sebelius for HHS approval along with a proposal for long-term care reforms), tax incentives for individuals to buy insurance, price incentives for healthy behaviors, and flexibility to buy personalized coverage will all lower cost and increase quality in our health care system.

I also look forward to discussing with Secretary Sebelius the potential increase in the number of people in our state’s Medicaid program for those who cannot afford health care. While the president’s health care law is now the law of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that increases in the number of Floridians having their health care costs paid for by federal and state taxpayers would be left up to each individual state. There are two key questions driving our consideration of this issue:

  • How will we pay for it?
  • Will it decrease costs and improve quality and access to health care for Florida families?

Today, Florida’s Medicaid program provides health care to more than 3.3 million Floridians. That means that one in six Floridians have their health care coverage provided by tax revenues of the remaining Floridians, and Medicaid is approximately 30 percent of our state budget. The cost of Medicaid has been growing at 3 ½ times the growth rate of the state’s general revenue for years. This crowds out our ability to invest in K-12 education, state universities and other priorities.

Growing government is never free. Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration recently reported that adding people to Medicaid under the new law would result in a total cost to Florida taxpayers of more than $63 billion over 10 years. The report also pointed out that the federal government has a long history of dramatically underestimating the cost of government programs.

Rising health costsFor example, the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital program was estimated by Congress to cost less than $1 billion in 1992. The actual cost came in at $17 billion. Just as taxpayers pay for our Medicaid program today, they will ultimately be responsible for financing any additional people added into it — however unpredictable that cost may be at this time — for years to come. I am hopeful that Secretary Sebelius and I will have a productive meeting on these important issues.

I remember how my parents struggled to pay for my younger brother’s treatment. I believe that having a safety net health care system — like Medicaid — is absolutely critical for those who need it most. But we must understand if we can afford to nearly double (from 3.3 million to 6.1 million by 2022-23) the number of Floridians using Medicaid today under the new law. We must also be certain that nearly doubling the people in this program would improve health care services, not just for those in government-run programs but all Floridians who would be impacted by such a dramatic growth of government in the health care marketplace.

I look forward to a thoughtful discussion with Secretary Sebelius on how we can reform our current system in a way that will keep our economy growing so more Floridians can get a great job (where benefits still provide the best access to great, affordable care), while also improving the quality of health care services Florida patients receive. Our goal must ultimately be to drive down the cost of health care so all families can access the level of care they desire.

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  • Elizabeth White

    Please we do not want to go with Obamacare…..Everyone I talk to does not want it.

  • http://facebook Elizabeth White

    Please, We Floridian do not want Obamacare. My husband's insurance is under it now and all of our prescription have gone out of site in price. For instance on of my husband medications has gone from $5.00 a month to $125.00 a month.

  • Ann Huffman

    Everyone needs good care, but knowing that ANYTHING the federal government gets it'

    s hands on will increase in cost yearly screams out "DON'T LET THEM IN OUR HEALTH CARE"!

    We don't even know what is in it all, even now, except our insurances have gone up and everyone will need lawyers to interpret it, and having worked as federal civil servant, I know how just the simplest instruction is so badly written that people in one office may understand it differently. Please keep state control. It's more easily fixed.

  • Jackie

    Please don't let them get there hands on our healthcare…the government and Obama can't run a lemonaide stand

  • Pawanna

    Medicaid was originally supposed to be to help people on a temporary basis – not a life time of taking – sliding scale could be used – I worked in a county run hospital and clinics, mostly funded by Medicaid and tax payer money – some people paid a few dollars for their visits. Way too many found this a way of life – help yourself to other people's money generation, after generation. This President had a goal in mind when he spent the first 2 years of his first administration working on this devistating project – thousands of pages that our Senators never even read… Is Obamacare good for us – no in the short term and no in the long term – we don't even have enough Dr.'s to see everyone – does anyone care – not really. President Obama's agenda is to destroy this country piece by piece and the sheeple of the Democratic Party are too ignorant to see this…. Useful idiots….. :(

  • http://twitter@robertwhiteside Robert Whiteside

    Our medical care system has been the best in the world!

    Of course, it has some issues. Those issues need to be addressed. We do not need Obama's healthcare system. It will not work and will destroy a good system. People from Europe and Canada come to the USA, for their major healthcare needs. Why do you think they feel the need to do that? Because their government healthcare program does not work!

  • Rich

    I thought the Governor was going to fight Obama care to the end? It seems however he has dropped the term "Obamacare "from his vocabulary and substituted "Affordable care" and is going to work with the administration. So much for never say never. I talked to a nurse today who worked in a hospital and asked her about the new health care system. She said she is all for it. I asked her why. She said she sees Illegals getting free health care all the time ;why shouldn't Americans have affordable health care? That makes sense to me and in addition I still think we need to attack the waste and fraud going on in the system which I believe has severely impacted insurance rates.

  • Ted Bishop

    when you sign us, the people of florida, for Obamacare! Go ahead get your unemployment started we don't want it, nor caan we afford it. we in the panhandle, will stick together and vote your butt out!!!

  • Doug Ibbetson

    Flakey Florida….We live here now but are soon moving to Tenn. where folks have values and stick to them…………No OBamacare now , no Obamacare ever!!!

    • Rich

      The grass is not always greener on the other side. Tenn. has had TennCare , a Medicaid program , with an annual budget of 8 billion dollars. It insures 1.2 million people. Good Luck. The problem with society is that most people will talk but will not take a stand. They expect someone else to do it for them. Values start in the home and home is where your family is.

  • Judith

    No amount of conversation between Scott and Sibelius can alter the fact that Obamacare is NOT WANTED in Florida or, apparently in any other State. It is being SHOVED upon us in the same manner as edicts came down on the German people by the Nazis back in the 1940's. Life as we have known it in the United States is being dismantled, our Freedoms are being torn from us, and the words "Sig Heil" are echoing louder and louder.