WGCU Radio Staff
Fri March 28, 2014
Local Hospital Officials Consider Proposed Medicaid Expansion Plan
Local hospital officials are taking a look at a new plan being pushed by U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida. The plan could extend the state’s Medicaid program to more than one million uninsured residents.
Nelson’s plan would involve hospitals across the state, many of which provide care to uninsured Floridians.
The plan would shift a small percentage of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act to local hospitals, as opposed to the state, which is how it is currently designed.
This new model is only being discussed right now.
Nelson sent a letter to federal officials this week asking them to be open-minded if the plan does moves forward.
Jim Nathan, president of Lee Memorial Health Systems, spoke to fellow hospital officials about the plan during a board meeting Thursday.
He said there is a lot to be figured out, but right now there is little risk in having the public invest in the expansion.
“I haven’t the foggiest idea whether this concept will fly, but it’s interesting and sounds creative,” he said.
As of Thursday, Gov. Rick Scott said he hasn’t seen the plan yet.
Ultimately, any plan to expand Medicaid will have to be signed off by federal officials and state leaders, who have mostly been opposed to any form of Medicaid expansion.