Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Health Care Industry Frets over Reforms

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Health Care Industry Frets over Reforms

Article excerpt

SUMMIT: Plenty of angst as officials ponder the implications for Florida


In a ballroom filled with insurance executives, Florida lawmakers and plenty of trepidation, those on the business end of health care met Thursday to discuss what's in store for the state under federal health reform.

"I've got some antacids if anyone wants any," said Aaron Bean, R- Fernandina Beach, as he prepared to host a panel on Medicaid fraud.

The two-day Florida Health Care Affordability Summit was hosted by the nonprofit Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida to foster discussion of innovation and solutions.

But the mood of the crowd was antsy as people considered industry ramifications of the Affordable Care Act, better known to some as "Obamacare."

Alan Levine, senior vice president and Florida Group president of for-profit, Naples-based Health Management Associates, said he expects Floridians to encounter hefty increases in insurance costs because of health care reform. HMA owns the 312-bed Venice Regional Medical Center in Venice.

"We can expect increases of 40 percent," he said. "I've even heard that it could be 300 percent."

The cost to carry out the expansion of Medicaid, a key part of the ACA, has been a hot topic in Republican-led states, including Florida. Gov. Rick Scott, a longtime critic, had said it will cost the state about $26 billion. But a report released Wednesday from the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration estimated a cost of $3 billion over 10 years. …

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