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Crist vetoes HMO increase bill and landlords bill

Gov. Charlie Crist late tonight announced that he has vetoed four bills, including a controversial measure that gave a rate increase to Medicaid HMOs and repealed a state law that mandated how much Medicaid plans must spend on providing mental health services to Medicaid patients.

Crist also vetoed a bill dealing with cosmetology, a bill that changes how much landlords can charge tenants who break leases, and a measure that would have raised boat vessel registration fees $2 in order to pay for derelict vessel removal.

The bill dealing with Medicaid HMOs, SB 1116, was one of the so-called conforming bills that accompanied the $71.5 billion budget that Crist signed into law today. But this bill was changed behind closed doors in the waning hours of the session to give Medicaid HMOs a $5 million rate increase starting in January. Crist also faulted the bill for ending a current requirement that Medicaid health plans provide at least 80 percent of money they receive for mental health care on direct services to patients.

"Even more disturbing is that many of these provider driven provisions were not discussed in an open forum,'' Crist wrote in his veto message.

Crist, who still rents an apartment in St. Petersburg, said he vetoed the bill dealing with landlords because the "impact" on those who can least afford it would be too great. The bill, HB 1277, would have allowed landlords to charge additional fees to tenants who want to break their leases early.

To read the veto message on the Medicaid bill: Download VETOSB1116.pdf

To read the veto message on the landlords bill: Download VETOHB1277.pdf

To read the veto message on the cosmetology bill: Download VETOSB920.pdf

To read the veto message on vessel registration:Download VETOSB1104.pdf

Comments

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Larry Thorson

Very interesting vetoes. Now let's contemplate what the sainted and highly popular Jeb Bush would have done with bills giving lavish money to health providers after being worked up behind closed doors. Sign, baby, sign. Oh, that's where he "works" now.

Ray

I'd like to know who made these changes behind closed doors! It seems incredible that a bill that has been voted on by the Senate can later be changed by persons unknown!

This isn't a disservice it should be illegal! We should take the "Sunshine" out of "The Sunshine State.

Eddy Lacasa

Governor Charlie Crist once again has demonstrated responsible leadership by vetoing this bill that would have had a devastating negative impact on mental health patients in Florida, allowing HMOs to increase administrative costs and with no savings to the state to show for it.
HMOs have lobbied to remove what is known as the “80/20” rule each legislative session, since administration of mental health and substance abuse was handed over to the HMOs in 2004. Each session their attempts were thwarted in committee. This session SB1116 was tucked into the Medicaid conforming bill at the eleventh hour of the legislative session, without committee debate.
One does not have to speculate hard as to why no legislators would take credit for this provision in the budget bill. Representative Ray Sansom, of Destin, the House's budget leader who worked out final issues with Sen. Lisa Carlton, of Osprey, said, "I couldn't give you the specifics. I think, ultimately, the decision was made between the House and Senate; that's who put the budget together." Senator Durell Peaden, of Crestview, who leads the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, while not claiming sponsorship of the bill called it “justified”.
If this wasn’t enough, the bill would also have eliminated the requirement that HMOs which don't spend fully 80 percent of their state Medicaid rate for the mentally ill on services, to return the difference to ACHA. Pursuant to the bill, HMOs would be able to pocket the money, thereby motivating them to withhold services to the public.
Governor Crist should be commended by all those who share concerns for the mentally ill population of Florida. Governor Crist’s veto sends a powerful message of hope to that segment of our society that has no voice, and restores faith that someone in government is watching out for their interests.

Eddy Lacasa

Governor Charlie Crist once again has demonstrated responsible leadership by vetoing this bill that would have had a devastating negative impact on mental health patients in Florida, allowing HMOs to increase administrative costs and with no savings to the state to show for it.
HMOs have lobbied to remove what is known as the “80/20” rule each legislative session, since administration of mental health and substance abuse was handed over to the HMOs in 2004. Each session their attempts were thwarted in committee. This session SB1116 was tucked into the Medicaid conforming bill at the eleventh hour of the legislative session, without committee debate.
One does not have to speculate hard as to why no legislators would take credit for this provision in the budget bill. Representative Ray Sansom, of Destin, the House's budget leader who worked out final issues with Sen. Lisa Carlton, of Osprey, said, "I couldn't give you the specifics. I think, ultimately, the decision was made between the House and Senate; that's who put the budget together." Senator Durell Peaden, of Crestview, who leads the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Committee, while not claiming sponsorship of the bill called it “justified”.
If this wasn’t enough, the bill would also have eliminated the requirement that HMOs which don't spend fully 80 percent of their state Medicaid rate for the mentally ill on services, to return the difference to ACHA. Pursuant to the bill, HMOs would be able to pocket the money, thereby motivating them to withhold services to the public.
Governor Crist should be commended by all those who share concerns for the mentally ill population of Florida. Governor Crist’s veto sends a powerful message of hope to that segment of our society that has no voice, and restores faith that someone in government is watching out for their interests.

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