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Politics

DeSantis Health Plan Calls for More Patient Choices

October 26, 2018 - 6:00pm

Less than two weeks before Election Day, Republican gubernatorial nominee Ron DeSantis has released a plan that he promises would help transform Florida’s health-care system.

After weeks of criticism over his lack of a health-care plan, DeSantis posted the proposal online Wednesday shortly before his final debate with Democratic candidate Andrew Gillum. The plan calls for people to have the right to buy the health care they want; use price-transparency tools to shop for care; and get rebates from insurers when patient choices save money.

The plan said DeSantis would maintain quality care by “resisting any effort to ration health care” in Tallahassee.

“Floridians have more choices in picking out their cell phone plans than their health insurance plans. Every day in the grocery store, we make decisions about what we want to buy, weighing price, necessity, and quality, and deciding what’s right for us,” the proposal said. “But, when it comes to something as important as health care, we have fewer choices and less information.”

DeSantis and Gillum have tangled in two debates this week about health care.

Gillum strongly supports expanding Medicaid eligibility as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. Gillum has also expressed support for “Medicare for all,” a single-payer system championed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders that would require federal approval.

DeSantis, who resigned his Northeast Florida congressional seat last month to focus on the gubernatorial race, opposes Medicaid expansion and has lambasted Gillum over supporting “Medicare for all.”

While in Congress, DeSantis was a member of the House Freedom Caucus a group of conservatives who did not support President Donald Trump’s efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. DeSantis and others in the group maintained at the time that the efforts didn’t go far enough.

Some of the ideas cited in DeSantis’ new plan have already been percolating in the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature, including a House proposal that would have mandated insurers and health-maintenance organizations share savings with consumers who shopped for care. The 2017 legislation, which ultimately did not pass, would have opened up insurers for penalties or lawsuits if they failed to comply.

The DeSantis plans also calls for expanding what is known as direct primary care, a concept that the Legislature approved this year. Direct primary care involves contractual arrangements between doctors and patients for treatment, at least partially cutting out the role of insurers. It’s not clear how DeSantis would want the plans expanded.

Democrats, who have attacked DeSantis for his opposition to the Affordable Care Act, immediately blasted his new proposal. In part, they said it would allow the sale of what they consider “junk” health-care plans, or those that don’t meet minimum benefit requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Moreover, Democrats argued the DeSantis proposal would not help people with pre-existing medical conditions. A popular feature of the Affordable Care Act provides protections in purchasing insurance for people with prior health conditions.

According to the DeSantis proposal, the Republican gubernatorial candidate would “work to ensure hard-to-insure Floridians with significant health needs have access to coverage” through market reforms that will encourage people to buy policies “before they get sick.”

Johanna Cervone, a Gillum spokeswoman, criticized the plan.

“After 268 days without a health-care plan, Ron DeSantis finally released a sham of a proposal that puts special interests over the health of Floridians and denies coverage to people with pre-existing conditions,” Cervone said in a statement.

Florida Republican Attorney General Pam Bondi has joined 19 other GOP attorneys general in a federal lawsuit that, if successful, would overturn the pre-existing protections contained in federal law.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, Florida has 3.1 million non-elderly people with pre-existing conditions.

Central to the DeSantis health-care proposal is the idea that costs must be contained to expand access.

To that end, DeSantis said he would “aggressively” implement an all-payer claims database designed to provide more information about prices. Gov. Rick Scott pushed for passage of the database in 2016, a year after a bruising legislative battle over expanding Medicaid access for uninsured, childless adults. In lieu of expanding Medicaid, Scott said he would help uninsured Floridians by working to lower the cost of care and touted increased transparency as a key way to do that.

But some of the largest insurance carriers aren’t reporting the information, after the state awarded a database contract to the Health Care Cost Institute, which was founded in 2011 by four insurance companies, including three that do business in Florida: Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealthcare. 

Another health-care move championed by Scott and supported by DeSantis is the state’s Medicaid managed-care program. Lawmakers and Scott in 2011 approved the program, which requires most Medicaid beneficiaries to enroll in HMOs or other types of managed-care plans.

DeSantis’ proposal said that as governor he would continue to “support Florida’s groundbreaking Medicaid managed-care model.”.

DeSantis in his proposal also said he would “finish implementing Florida’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment.” Voters in 2016 approved a constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana, but the state has faced lawsuits and criticism about the way it has carried out the amendment.

Comments

Facts are missing in these emotionally charged opinions rendering them useless, a waste of time reading. How many people in Florida who want health care insurance are unable to get coverage? How many people who utilize emergency rooms are turned away? How many Florideans are dying in the streets due to lack of insurance and hospitals kicking them out leaving them to die in the streets? How many Floridians have been refused coverage right now for a pre-existing medical conditions ? Facts first, please. Dems use the same playbook over and over by using scary future scenerios to drive frightened people into voting for their unworkable bankrupting health plans that if implemented would end up taxing our country in to oblivion (check the liberal plans against government budget estimates). Once the Dems run out of other people's money to pay for coverage, your coverage will be nothing more than a medical insurance card you can carry in your wallet that you can show a provider but will cover no services. You'll use your card as id as you pay out of pocket for the needed service. How's that for a scary hypothetical? If the media would ever tell the truth, President Trump has said a zillion times that pre-existing condions will remain covered under any new health care plan he signs. Unlike the previous President, Trump keeps his word. You'd know that as well if the news guys would publish a list of the items promised, promises kept. You may not particularly like Trump's Agenda but you can count on it getting done or he will die trying. Ron DeSantis, like Trump, is an honest and transparent man. He has told us he will make sure Floridians will have pre-existing civerage available to them should Congress fail to pass what our President wants. Just sayin. Don't be fooled by what the flim-flam man is telling us. I think Gillum's pants are on fire.

That ain't no plan, no solutions, just more of the same crap...just like trickle down economics repackaged today, more of the same old crap that don't work from the Repubs...

The reason we don't have good choices or affordable healthcare is only one, MONEY. Having to support the rich medical, insurance and pharmaceutical industries is like a cannon ball around the healthcare neck. The US pays 17 times more for healthcare than the next highest country, yet in terms of healthcare quality and efficiency, we are 23rd in the world. 9 of the top 10 biggest industrialized democracies have Gov't run healthcare (No, they are not Socialists), the lone outlier being the US. Why? because it simply costs less. Gov't's are able to negotiate healthcare costs, drugs, etc. at negotiated rates that have literally saved 100's of billions of dollars. Ironically, the top 10 in the world in terms of healthcare quality and efficiency are all Gov't run. Why, then the resistance in the US? MONEY. There is a misinformation and sometimes just outright lie campaign put out by the aforementioned industries to save their cash cow... and now you have the rest of the story...

You forgot one thing that wraps this whole thing up nicely. The number 1 special interest contributor to the Republican party is the insurance industry, so they are protecting their money making machine...

Memo to all adults here we have a few childish posters here who are likely paid leftist operatives, sickos suffering from TDS, or just idiots. There is no need to reply and feed the trolls Ted Kruze, Robert Warner, Frank and a few others. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS.

Actually Gorden, I believe in objective discourse - particularly in this forum. Talk and promotion is easy. The reality of private insurance for Health Care is it's exemption from "Interstate Commerce" and the protections given this nation by the 14th Amendment. It's called a closed market - that can be manipulated in infinite ways by those controlling a State's health care industry. Perhaps it why they now hate Medicare - after taking down Medicaid.

Obamacare is a government pyramid scheme!

DeSantis’ was elected to Congress on one promise; repealing Obamacare. He voted accordingly 50 times while there. His plan is to privatize Medicare, Medicaid and Tricare. He’s made no secret of it. He believes the private market is the best provider of these services. It’s odd that he’s hiding from that now.

That's all well, and said, but Healthcare should be a given. At birth. I'm all for the great capitalistic way. I shop around for deals, just like everyone else. And I believe in the competitive nature of consumerism. BUT Healthcare is something I need. Not something I want. In the greatest country in the world, we have the worst system of keeping people alive and healthy. It shouldn't cost citizens over a thousand dollars, just for an ambulance ride, when our tax dollars already pay for the EMS service. And Insurance companies make BILLIONS every month from individual and group policies. Yet pay out the most measly of benefits, all the while reaping the biggest profits. That's wrong! There's nothing wrong with a state or Federal plan that offers choice in companies and coverage, that pays benefits to the max.

Thank goodness finally a comprehensive healthcare plan that puts that bait and switch unsustainable scam of Obamacare to shame. All Democrats will rush to vote DeSantis.

Oh you are sadly mistaken. There's no way Democrats are voting for that Trump puppet.

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