On Sunday Charlie Crist gave a full-throated endorsement of Obamacare despite what it means for Medicare Advantage enrollees. But it’s more than cuts just announced by the Obama administration which devastates many Floridians.
Not only does Florida have 1.3 million Medicare Advantage enrollees who could see higher out-of-pocket costs and reduced access to doctors, previous cuts to Medicare Advantage caused the prestigious Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, and its 250 physicians, to be dropped from MA plans, causing countless patients to lose their doctors.
CANDY: “…in Florida there is real fear that seniors who are using the Medicare Advantage plan will in fact see their list of doctors shrink. None of that — you don’t think any of that will happen?”
CRIST: “I don’t think that will happen…I think that people on the other side are using that as a fear tactic…”
CANDY CROWLEY: “But some did lose the insurance that they had. That’s a fact.”
While Crist denies that Medicare Advantage cuts will affect accessibility to doctors, here are the facts.
Because Of “An Era Of Medicare Advantage Funding Cuts,” Seniors Are Already Seeing Less Access To Specialized Hospitals, Including Florida’s Only “National Cancer Institute-Designated” Treatment Facility.“UnitedHealthcare has begun telling members about the network changes. But there is now less than two weeks before the Dec. 7 deadline for choosing new coverage next year. Timing is crucial since once they sign up, most Advantage beneficiaries are locked into their plans for the year …UnitedHealthcare spokeswoman Jessica Pappas said in a written response to questions, ‘While these changes can be difficult for patients and their doctors, they are necessary to meet rising quality standards, slow the increase in health costs and sustain our plans in an era of Medicare Advantage funding cuts … In Florida, UnitedHealthcare has dropped the state’s only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer treatment facility, the Moffitt Cancer Center and its 250 physicians in Tampa.” (Susan Jaffe, “UnitedHealthcare Dropping Hundreds Of Doctors From Medicare Advantage Plans,”Kaiser Heath News, 12/1/13)
While Charlie continues to support this bad law and its devastating consequences, Governor Scott is working to put Florida on the cutting edge for cancer research. Yesterday, he highlighted an $80 million commitment for cancer research with leaders from University of Florida Health and Orlando Health.
Governor Rick Scott Highlights $80 Million for Cancer Research as Part of the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget”
ORLANDO, Fla. – Governor Rick Scott today joined leaders from University of Florida Health and Orlando Health to highlight an $80 million commitment for cancer research in the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” The budget includes $60 million for existing Florida Cancer Centers to assist in achieving National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, and another $20 million commitment for peer-reviewed research grants.
Governor Rick Scott said, “I am proud to join UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health to highlight our $80 million commitment for cancer treatment centers across Florida. We must put our state in a position to be on the cutting edge of cancer research, and this investment goes a long way towards that goal. We remain committed to fighting this terrible disease, and we continue to work towards a cure.”
University of Florida President Bernie Machen said, “Governor Scott’s effort to increase state support for cancer research is timely and needed in light of the rising human toll from cancer in Florida. With this additional funding, UF Health and Orlando Health can accelerate our collaborative work to make the best possible cancer care and treatment available to patients.”
Dr. Mark Roh, President, UF Health Cancer Center at Orlando Health, said, “As oncologists we are always looking for newer, better and more advanced ways to treat cancer and provide options and hope for our patients. Thanks to the support from Governor Scott to pledge valuable funds for cancer research, we will continue to make strides and move forward in finding new drugs and treatment options which will save lives and take cancer care in Florida to the next level.”
State Surgeon General and Secretary of Health Dr. John Armstrong said, “The ‘It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget’ demonstrates Governor Scott’s commitment to helping Floridians beat cancer with state-of-the-art care and innovative research. This budget will create a statewide network of National Cancer Institute designated centers that will make Florida the preferred destination for cancer care and research investment.”
Governor Scott’s “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget” provides designated funding that will help Florida’s Cancer Centers meet the rigorous scientific and research criteria required for NCI-designated centers. NCI-designated Cancer Centers provide the latest in medical discoveries to patients, serve the educational needs of health professionals and promote health equity throughout communities. This funding will further enhance Florida’s robust system for cancer research and collaboration which already includes projects funded by the peer-reviewed William G. “Bill” Bankhead, Jr. and David Coley Cancer Research Program and the James and Esther King Biomedical Research Program, which were both established by the Florida Legislature.