According to the Miami Herald, Scott agreed to endorse the plan to expand Medicaid after the federal government approved a grant waiver that would allow Medicare to be privatized in the state. Scott has repeatedly told the federal government and the media that Medicare expansion was not possible unless the state was granted a waiver to privatize the Medicare system.
GOP lawmakers have said that the $21 billion annual cost for Medicare is swallowing the state’s budget and the plan to move the Florida's Medicare to a more privatize managed care plan was the only option to save money and expand the program.
Florida will become the only state in the country to have privatized Medicare.
According to the Herald, the privatization plan will be fully implemented from a five county test pilot program that some health insurance companies has complained have been plagued with problems. Critics are worried that a for- profit Medicare system will cheat patients out of care and deny medical service to increase profits. Some doctors and health plans have dropped out of the program, claiming that they could not make enough money. Patients have been bounced around in the pilot program from plan to plan with a gap in care.
Even though critics have scorned the for-profit Medicare system, state lawmakers have claimed that the pilot program has been fixed, with provisions to include increased oversight and more severe penalties for companies that abuse the system, including a $500,000 penalty for providers who drop out of the system. The revamped system also increases doctor reimbursement rates and limits malpractice lawsuits for Medicaid patients with the goal of attracting more doctors to join the program.