Friday, June 03, 2005
Highlights From The First Rosenkranz Report
Welcome to law4elders.blogspot.com! I hope you have all had a wonderful memorial day weekend.
When the Jeb Bush released his plans to alter Medicaid in the up and coming year, I took action. I consumed a tremendous amount of time researching the governor’s plans, alternatives, the key players involved, and all articles that had been released on the subject in the year before the governors first official release. We have seen a tremendous amount of political activity in Tallahassee since that first release in January. I have followed these events with cautious optimism. I have released a series of reports over the last six months entitled, “The Rosenkranz Report.” I am posting some highlights from the first Rosenkranz Report, and will publish them in their entirety on this web site in the months to come. Thanks!
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE FIRST ROSENKRANZ REPORT:
In his continued effort to support the elderly of the great state of Florida, Jack Rosenkranz of Rosenkranz Law firm has come across information that is of unparalleled importance to you. In early January of 2005, Governor Jeb Bush (R-Florida) released a proposal for overhauling Medicaid. He is calling for many changes to the system that will greatly affect everyone who has a stake in the future of Medicaid.
The wheels are already turning. A joint committee on Medicaid reform composed of some thirty Senators and Medicaid experts toured Florida taking public suggestions for changing the system. It has become evident that something needs to change: at the current rate of growth, Medicaid spending will consume more than 60% of all spending by the State of Florida. Lawmakers are not going to allow this to happen. There are other important programs that also require money: education, safety, highways and roads, just to name a few. Medicaid currently costs more per year than any of these programs.
So what is going to change? Governor Jeb Bush has proposed dramatic alteration to the system. To summarize: if the governors original plan passed today, people on Medicaid would be assigned a counselor to help them pick the type of health care they want. Recipients would then be given money to help them purchase private insurance. Some sort of co-pay structure would likely be involved. This proposal assumes that the majority of Medicaid recipients will participate and have the ability to make good choices about their medical care. Jack Rosenkranz believes, after years of experience working with the elderly, that many people will be intimidated by the system and not use it at all. He is also concerned about elderly people with dementia and other cognitive impairments. How would these people be protected to ensure that they are not overlooked by the system?
Rules of eligibility to obtain Medicaid benefits are being challenged and reworked to drastically altering the look back times to obtain benefits. Some proposed changes would remove two of the three tests for determining eligibility and rely totally on household income. The new system would also factor in a portion of assets for determining eligibility. Basically, the higher a persons combined income/asset level is, the less likely they will be to qualify. Removing the Medicaid annuity is also being proposed, which will reduce benefits for some people.
Yet another proposal suggests creating a Medicaid HMO; a model that many of you are familiar with from experiences with Medicare HMO’s. This would undoubtedly bring about the same cumbersome aspects of accessing medical care and obtaining prescription coverage Medicare recipients experience. Recipients will have to travel from doctor to doctor to get specific types of care and deal with the limits associated with insurers making medical decisions. This is just one option that has been looked at.
The most disturbing aspect of the governors proposal involves giving recipients the chance to obtain coverage rather than entitlement to coverage. Basically, having entitlement gives a person a legal right to the money allotted by Medicaid. If you have the opportunity to obtain coverage and the funding is not there, you would be out of luck. You could not sue to get the money because you would not be entitled to it. Entitlement also ensures that medical facilities get paid. Without entitlement, businesses would have no legal recourse and many would become insolvent in a short time.
Jack Rosenkranz is following these proposals with cautious optimism. None of these things has happened yet. Legislators are still in the planning process. So what does this mean to you? Medicaid is going to be overhauled in the next year to eighteen months. Florida lawmakers are going to take action to change Medicaid. What will change and to what degree remains to be seen.
posted by Jack Rosenkranz @ 6:48 AM