Health Reform Study Highlights Benefits, Challenges

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Feb. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new report released today by the Collins Center for Public Policy looks beyond the pitched battles over health care reform and instead offers a comprehensive review of the new federal law and its potential impact on Florida.


Recent court rulings clouded the Affordable Care Act's future. But for now it remains federal law, and its main features could be in place in 2014. The report, "Making the Investment Work: Important Benefits and Key Challenges in Implementing Health Reform in Florida," examines how the law would affect Floridians and businesses large and small, and how the state and health care industry should prepare for its possible implementation.

Among the conclusions:

  • The number of uninsured Floridians — currently about 4 million — will continue to rise without reform.
  • Between 1 million and 1.4 million people would be newly enrolled in Medicaid under the new law. Another 700,000 to 1.1 million uninsured Floridians would gain coverage through an exchange comprised of private insurers.
  • Expanding Medicaid would involve new state expenditures estimated at between $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion from 2014 to 2019. Each of those state dollars invested would bring at least 10 federal dollars.
  • Florida would need more physicians, nurses and other care providers to meet the increased patient demand.
  • Florida taxpayers with annual incomes of $250,000 for families and $200,000 for individuals would experience higher federal income taxes.
  • Middle-class Floridians with incomes up to four times the federal poverty level (roughly $88,000 for a family of four) would receive federally financed subsidies.
  • Many health care providers and insurers would be assessed new fees to help finance the subsidized coverage for lower- and middle-income residents.
  • Medicare enrollees would see the "doughnut hole" gap in their prescription coverage close over the course of the next decade.

The report ends with an action plan for Florida to maximize the potential benefits.

"The bottom line is that with or without this health care reform act, Florida must make some critical decisions about how to improve the health of its residents, recognizing that the status quo is simply not an option anymore," said Dr. Leda Perez, Vice President of Health Initiatives for the Collins Center. "We hope this report will provide state leaders with some viable options for how to reduce costs and improve the quality of care rendered."

The report can be found at A webinar is scheduled for 1 p.m. Feb. 17 with Dr. Leda Perez, and principal authors Dr. Jack Meyer and Sharon Silow-Carroll.

Meyer is a principal in the Washington, D.C., office of consultant Health Management Associates and a University of Maryland professor. Silow-Carroll is a principal in the New York office of Health Management Associates with expertise in health system reform strategies.

Named after Florida Gov. LeRoy Collins, the nonprofit Collins Center is independent, nonpartisan and dedicated to advancing the understanding of important public policy issues. For information, contact Collins Center News & Information Director Thomas M. Arthur at (727) 599-9245 or [email protected].

SOURCE Collins Center for Public Policy