Is the Medicaid managed care bill really dead?

Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration wants lawmakers to change Florida's Medicaid laws.

A push by the Ron DeSantis administration to overhaul the Medicaid managed care programs has stalled in the waning days of the 2022 Session, leading to questions about the timeline the state has in place to solicit billions of dollars in bids.

The House and Senate have passed rival bills that would change the procurement process used for Medicaid. But lawmakers sponsoring the bills have been unable to resolve key differences between the two measures.

Senate President Wilton Simpson told reporters on Wednesday evening that the legislation “was definitely in trouble.” He added that “we’re not going to hear it.”

Florida’s existing Medicaid managed care contracts expire on Dec. 31, 2024, which means that the Agency for Health Care Administration wants to start the process to solicit new contracts. Because of that, AHCA asked this year to change current law, including a requirement that the state issue separate bids for each Medicaid region.

Bills to change the process worked their way through the two chambers all Session. The Senate passed its legislation (SB 1950) last week, but the House earlier this week tagged its own version of the rewrite onto SB 1950 and sent it back to the Senate.

The House bill is controversial because it requires “essential providers” to enter into regional or statewide contracts with those Medicaid managed care plans. The legislation includes a process where essential providers and managed care plans that can’t reach agreement will enter into mediation June 30.

Mediators must submit a report to AHCA by Oct. 1 showing the outcome of all mediation they presided over.

The state is required by Jan. 1 to withhold any supplemental payments from essential providers that do not have all the mandated contracts signed.

Florida legislators in 2011 mandated a rewrite of the state’s Medicaid statutes, requiring most beneficiaries to enroll in a managed care plan. In 2013, the Medicaid managed long-term care program was launched.

The Medicaid managed medical assistance program, which provides services to women and children, followed in 2014.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


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