Laureny Sanchez is a widowed mother of four, including 14-year-old twin Alan, who suffers from a tumor on his pituitary gland, heart problems and other medical issues. Under regular Medicaid, Laureny wouldn’t have been able to get Alan the care and support he needs, but thanks to Florida’s Medicaid Reform initiative, Alan is receiving regular care that is critical to his future.
Pennsylvania, like most states, exclusively offers traditional Medicaid, which shuffles patients around without giving them much choice in who provides their care or how it is administered. We can do better. We can replicate Florida’s remarkably successful program where 64 percent of patients have better health compared to traditional Medicaid and 83 percent report higher satisfaction with their health care.
Florida’s Medicaid cure hasn’t just benefited families like the Sanchez’s—it also saves taxpayers. Pennsylvania spends more than twice as much per recipient as Florida’s Medicaid Cure program, and yet patients have trouble getting appointments with doctors while the program remains riddled with waste and fraud. If Pennsylvania adopted these reforms, taxpayers could save an estimated $1 billion to $4 billion a year while improving the quality of care.
To implement Florida-style reform in Pennsylvania we need flexibility from the federal government. Unfortunately, the current administration in Washington has given no indication that they will grant other states the flexibility Florida has been given to reform their Medicaid programs. That’s unfortunate, because families like the Sanchez’s who call Pennsylvania home need more than our current one-size-fits-all system gives them.