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Health News Florida

Proposed Medicaid Changes Draw Bipartisan Criticism

Seema Verma
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma said the federal agency has received more than 4,000 comments on a proposed Medicaid regulation that is taking bipartisan heat.

“We are reviewing them carefully, and we understand that potential changes in Medicaid financing and payment can have significant ripple effects at the local level,” she wrote in A Feb. 12 blog post.

Verma, however, devoted most of the lengthy post to defending the proposed rules. “Alarmist estimates” that the rule would “suddenly remove billions of dollars from the program and threaten beneficiary access are overblown and without credibility,” she wrote.

The News Service of Florida reported Wednesday that Florida Medicaid director Beth Kidder sent a letter to Verma Jan. 31 saying the proposed rule would have a “crippling” impact in Florida, if it were to go into effect. The rule deals with arcane funding mechanisms used by state governments to draw down billions of dollars in federal money for Medicaid, which provides health-care services to 3.8 million poor, elderly and disabled Floridians.

The Florida Health Care Association, a statewide group that represents nursing homes, estimates that the proposed rule would have a $660 million impact on its members. The Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida estimates the plan could have a $631 million impact on the state’s safety-net facilities and a $250 million impact on medical faculty teaching programs at the University of Florida and the University of Miami.