Gov. Scott, Sen. Nelson go head to head on proposed Medicaid changes

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and other Florida Democrats are calling on federal authorities to reject a proposed change to the state’s Medicaid program.

Gov. Rick Scott says his plan is to cut costs without denying coverage. But Nelson says the governor is putting the state’s most vulnerable at risk.

The administration of Gov. Rick Scott has asked for approval to shorten the amount of time that people can apply for Medicaid coverage once they need medical help. The move could save an estimated $98 million.

Nelson and 11 House members on Thursday sent a letter to federal authorities. The letter says the change could harm people with disabilities and senior citizens in nursing homes.

Mallory McManus, a spokeswoman for the Agency for Health Care Administration, asserted that the criticism was “categorically false.”

McManus said the change was required by the Florida Legislature this year. However, a senior official working under Scott first suggested the change in a March 2017 letter to federal authorities.

On a campaign stop in Naples Friday, Scott insisted no one would lose coverage.

“First off, Bill Nelson is a career politician that doesn’t focus on getting things done. He focuses on talk. Think about it. There’s no services that anybody’s losing. None. Nobody’s losing service,” Scott said.

But Nelson disputes that claim. And many in SWFL are divided over the issue.

“It’s costing the tax payers so much money. And the people that have the major injury, it should only take 30 days,” said Cynthia Newby.

“I hope it would stay the same, and everybody would get the care they need…just do what’s right,” added Randy Maltsberger.

Reporter:Oliver Redsten
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