Saying Florida has the “infrastructure and capacity to serve the health care needs of our veteran community,” a Republican senator Friday proposed a program that would allow veterans to tap into the state Medicaid managed-care system as an alternative to the federal Veterans Health Administration system.
The bill (SB 440), filed by Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah, would direct the state Agency for Health Care Administration to seek federal approval of the program. Under the proposal, veterans could voluntarily decide to get services through managed-care networks used by the state Medicaid program instead of through the federal VA system.
The bill, filed for the 2018 legislative session, said state funds could not be used for the program.
“We want to work with the federal government to provide additional options to Florida's veterans,” Garcia, chairman of the Senate Children, Families and Elder Affairs Committee, said in a prepared statement. “Instead of spending more tax dollars to build facilities, we want to offer the federal Department of Veteran Affairs access to Florida's robust network of providers who are already caring for nearly 4 million recipients.”