Governor’s Budget Recommendations Includes Medicaid Reform, Reducing Taxes and Regulations

Governor Rick Scott today announced his recommendations for Florida’s FY 2012-13 budget. The Florida Legislature will consider the governor’s recommendations when the 2012 legislative session kicks off on January 10, 2012. The legislature must finalize a balanced budget by the end of the 60-day session.

Gov. Scott’s budget recommendations total $66.4 billion, a 4.6% decrease from the current fiscal year budget. Due to the lackluster economy, the 2012-13 budget shortfall near $2 billion and will take the state budget back to 2005-06 levels when it totaled $65.7 billion.

The governor outlined his top three principles for next year’s budget: a commitment to education; lowering taxes and reducing regulations to create a competitive advantage for Florida businesses to allow them to grow and put Floridians to work; and embracing the competitive spirit and principles of limited government to allow the free market to thrive.

In addition to a $1 billion increase in state funding of education, the governor highlighted the Medicaid program, which wil cost $21 billion in 2012-13 compared to $6 billion in 1996-97.

“No program has grown as fast and as much as Medicaid, and we must find a way to control the cost. If we do nothing, this program will bankrupt our state,” Gov. Scott stated.

Medicaid managed care, which was passed last spring by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Scott, is expected to control costs and is still awaiting approval by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The governor seeks to adjust Medicaid reimbursement methodologies to control soaring costs, such as implementing a flat rate based on cost data for hospital reimbursements to eliminate disparities in reimbursements across different regions of the state.

A more thorough analysis of the governor’s recommendations will be completed to determine the impact it will have on home and community based care through Medicaid and the various waiver programs.

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