In letter to federal government, AHCA’s false claims belie the facts
Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson (D-Jacksonville) on Friday called on Governor Rick Scott’s Agency for Health Care Administration to immediately retract its misleading claims that no legislative objections or concerns were raised over its plan to gut a critical safeguard protecting Florida’s seniors and families facing catastrophic health care emergencies.
“AHCA omitted key facts in its letter to the federal government seeking to amend its Medicaid waiver, promoting the move as an efficiency tool. In reality, despite both opposition and concern raised by myself and other Democrats, the main intent was to free up $38 million for general revenue, surrendering $60 million in federal matching dollars while saddling seniors, the disabled, and their families with massive medical debt.”
At issue is a waiver to the state’s Medicaid program sought by Scott’s Administration to eliminate “Medicaid retroactive eligibility,” which allows Medicaid to cover unpaid medical bills for up to 90-days from the date of application. Florida Medicaid only covers certain low income individuals: pregnant women, children, a limited number of parents who meet stringent income limits, people with disabilities, and senior citizens. While the waiver now being sought would continue the retroactive coverage of Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and children, seniors and the disabled – including veterans – would lose this extended period, and bear the heaviest financial consequences.
In its April 27, 2018 letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, AHCA’s Deputy Secretary for Medicaid claimed: “We are not aware of any concern or opposition raised by any member of either party regarding this provision during extensive budget debate.”
The record refuting that statement follows. During the March 9th, 2018 Senate floor debate on HB 5001, the General Appropriations Act, Democratic Senators Audrey Gibson, Jose Javier Rodriguez, Kevin Rader, and Victor Torres all expressed concerns and raised questions about the need for the cut.
“Contrary to AHCA’s alternative facts, Senate Democrats did raise both opposition and concerns during the budget debate on the Medicaid retroactive eligibility cuts. Attempting to sell this as a bi-partisan blessing on bad policy is an untruth.”