Rep. Charlie Crist (D-FL) wants a federal investigation into the fact that under Gov. Ron DeSantis, the state of Florida stopped reimbursements for medical care for disabled kids.
Charlie Crist Accuses DeSantis Of Mismanaging Florida Medicaid
Rep. Crist wrote to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS):
I write with deep concern about the mismanagement of Florida’s Medicaid Waiver taking place within the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.
As you know, Florida has contracted out services provided under the Developmental Disabilities Home and Community-Based Service Medicaid Waiver to privately run managed care companies. One such company, Sunshine Health, one of the largest Medicaid managed care providers in the state, recently merged with Wellcare, another of our state’s largest providers. In her Barred Owl Press article dated January 28, 2022, “Hundreds, maybe thousands, of Florida Medicaid Kids at Risk of Losing Care,” Alexandra Glorioso reports on a family left in the lurch when her disabled 15-year-old son’s caregiver stopped receiving reimbursements beginning October 1, 2021. Hardly an isolated incident, in “Meltdown: Florida failed for nearly 3 months to pay tens of thousands of health claims for sickest, neediest children” from February 14, 2022, Kristin Bausch from Fresh Take Florida reports that the non-payment of claims affected roughly 400 care providers for months. Beyond the incalculable impact to providers, many of which are small businesses just trying to care for children with disabilities, the number of families with children with disabilities that lost their caregiver must be in the thousands.
Bausch reports that the Agency for Health Care Administration asserts that it contacted Sunshine Health “immediately” when the agency became aware of the issues in January. Regrettably, it strains credulity that the thousands of families who lost caregivers, hundreds of parents who could no longer work, and hundreds of small business owners who lost their livelihood would wait over three months to notify the agency that ultimately oversees a program melting down. Rather, the timing of events suggests that Glorioso’s inquiry prompted AHCA to act. When an embarrassing story matters more to an agency than thousands of Florida’s most vulnerable families, there’s a problem.
In order to safeguard Florida families and federal taxpayers’ investment in Florida’s Medicaid Waiver, I request that CMS investigate how this could have happened, why families and small businesses were made to suffer so long, and what steps need to be taken to keep this from happening again. I know you share my concern for children with disabilities and their families, along with the integrity of Medicaid. I look forward to your response.
Ron DeSantis Hits A New Low
It appears that DeSantis misused a waiver granted by the federal government to cut off payments for medical care for disabled children. Medical care for any child is expensive, but a child with disabilities and health concerns requires special care that is often extremely costly.
Gov. DeSantis wants to be the next President Of The United States, so he has been using Florida as his campaign platform. One can easily DeSantis wanting to cut Medicaid costs and one of the fastest ways to accomplish that goal would be to stop paying for medical care for disabled kids.
Ron DeSantis has mismanaged Florida, and it is time for the federal government to step in and protect families and children.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association