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Transforming Medicaid from Safety Net to Primary Provider Will be Biggest Challenge, Expert Says

April 12, 2013 | WMFE - One of the biggest issues of this legislative session is health care, with Florida lawmakers considering whether to expand Medicaid under the Obama administration's Affordable Care Act. And how to do so. But one Central Florida expert says Medicaid never was meant to be a primary provider.

With weeks left in this legislative session the Florida House and Senate have introduced separate plans. The Senate plan would tap federal funds to extend care to about a million people, while the House rejects federal help but covers about a hundred-thousand people with state funds.

Ken Peach, executive director of the Health Council of East Central Florida, says whatever happens in the Legislature, community programs are most concerned about the strain of increased demand on providers.

"And so we have to look at that and say who in our communities can accept Medicaid patients? Who cannot? And how do we find ways to expand the number of places that will be available to individuals, whether the House or the Senate plans go through?"

Peach says Medicaid was designed as a safety net for the poor and disabled – not as a primary provider.

The Health Council of East Central Florida is one of 11 organizations statewide created by the Legislature to evaluate community programs and advance health care. 


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