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Think Tank Featured at ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force


Foundation for Government Accountability CEO Presents Florida’s Reform Successes

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – National health policy leaders learned what common sense health and welfare reforms accomplish for patients and taxpayers during a presentation by the Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) to the Health and Human Services Task Force of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)last Friday.

FGA CEO Tarren Bragdon (right) with Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir, public sector chair of the ALEC Health and Human Services Task Force.

The Health and Human Services Task Force is one of nine—and the largest—such sub-groups of ALEC, a non-partisan national coalition of public and private sector leaders committed to the free market, limited government and state’s rights. ALEC members are comprised of state legislators and private and non-profit sector individuals who collaborate to develop ideas that tackle challenges faced by the states.
Bragdon, a nationally recognized authority in Medicaid and welfare policy, presented to the Task Force his talk titled Florida’s Health Care Reforms: Health and Welfare Successes in the Sunshine State at ALEC’s 2011 States & Nation Policy Summit in Scottsdale, Arizona.

“Florida has made tremendous accomplishments in the areas of patient-centered Medicaid reform and welfare accountability,” Bragdon said. “I’m grateful to have shared these successes with free market leaders on the Health and Human Services Task Force. Members left interested in exploring similar reforms for other states.”

Bragdon presented his research on Florida’s five-county Medicaid Reform Pilot, which expanded plan choices for patients, covers more health services than any other Medicaid program in the country, and achieves better health outcomes and higher patient satisfaction among participants. The Reform Pilot, which began in 2006, has also saved Florida taxpayers an estimated $118 million annually.

A planned statewide expansion of Florida’s Medicaid Reform is pending approval of waiver requests submitted by the State to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Statewide expansion would save taxpayers up to $901 million every year. If Florida’s Medicaid Reform were replicated nationwide, Medicaid patients would be healthier and happier, and American taxpayers would save up to an estimated $28.6 billion.

“As other states struggle with Medicaid crises, Florida has found a cure with its Medicaid Reform Pilot,” Bragdon said.

Bragdon also discussed Florida’s welfare cash drug testing law, which requires applicants to pass a drug test before collecting taxpayer funded welfare cash. In October, after just three months as law, activist federal Judge Mary Scriven suspended the law based on personal ideology rather than fact.

Prior to Scriven’s pro-addict ruling, 19 percent of otherwise eligible applicants received a drug-related denial for failing to prove the welfare cash they sought would be used to support kids and families, not illegal drug addiction. During its first three months, these drug-related denials resulted in an estimated savings of $1.8 million to Florida taxpayers. Governor Rick Scott has appealed Scriven’s ruling.

“Welfare cash drug testing is a common sense solution to help protect children of drug addicts,” Bragdon explained. “Our limited welfare dollars should not be used to fund addiction. Scriven’s ruling has put Florida children at greater risk.”

Bragdon’s presentation was well received.

“Tarren presented the Task Force important information about Florida’s success in implementing reforms that are both pro-patient and pro-taxpayer,” explained Christie Herrera, Director of ALEC’s Health and Human Services Task Force. “Tarren showed why members should look to Florida for free market Medicaid and welfare reforms that strengthen these safety net programs for those who truly need them, and save money for the taxpayers who fund them.”


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