Posts Tagged ‘Senate President Joe Negron’

Magic Johnson visits Tallahassee to talk up Medicaid managed care

Monday, March 13th, 2017

Magic Johnson visited with Senate Democrats Monday to praise Medicaid managed care programs that are using town hall meetings and church outreach to steer HIV, dental, geriatric, and other health care to poor people in 60 Florida counties.
The programs have served 9,500 people with HIV during the past four years, Johnson said.
Moreover, “our providers and our doctors look like the patients they serve. That’s very important, because they can serve them better, understand their needs,” Johnson said, providing “the best health care they’ve ever received.”
Johnson, who recently rejoined the Los Angeles Lakers as president for basketball operations, later dropped in on Senate President Joe Negron, and was scheduled to meet with Senate Republicans later in the day.
He and Negron talked about health care and baseball — Johnson is a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers; Negron is a notorious Atlanta Braves fan.
Lourdes Rivas, president and CEO of Simply Health Care and Amerigroup Florida, which are administering the managed care program under a contract with the state, said Florida has greatly improved access to dental care — now covering nearly half of its residents, up from a low of 28 percent.
The contract is up for renewal, Rivas said.
Johnson, a “brand ambassador” for the programs, said the importance of dental care cannot be understated. He referred to reports that a child in Washington, D.C., died of a dental abscess.
“We’ve been doing a lot of great things. I just hope that all of you are proud of the work that we’ve been doing. If we are awarded this contract again, we look forward to partnering with all of you and try to do more,” Johnson said.
Caucus members expressed skepticism of GOP plans to block grant Medicaid and cut funding for health care programs, including HIV research.
Sen. Kevin Rader suggested that when Johnson met

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Negron’s Lake Okeechobee plan absorbs additional water resources projects

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron‘s plan to build reservoirs south of Lake Okeechobee got bigger Wednesday, when a budget subcommittee voted to raise the price tag from $1.2 billion to more than $3 billion and fold in water resources projects around the state.
SB 10, as amended by the Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Natural Resources, would also extend preferences for jobs building the reservoirs to agricultural workers displaced by taking the land out of farming.
The panel passed the bill with a single no vote, from ranking Democrat Oscar Braynon II, who worried those replacement jobs would prove only temporary. But even he suggested he could come on board if future amendments fully “recognize that there is a community that is suffering” south of the lake.
Asked following the meeting about the bill’s growth, including the addition of the jobs preferences and other economic-justice provisions, Chairman  Rob Bradley said they emerged from past hearings on Negron’s signature project.
“Whether it becomes a part of this bill or a separate bill … remains to be seen,” Bradley told reporters. “But it is an issue that the people have spoken, and we need to address it.”
Bradley conceded there’s little taste in the Legislature for floating bonded debt just now. Florida has been paying as it goes for water projects, he said.
“I would suggest to you that, from the Senate’s standpoint, with money being as cheap as it is right now, if there’s something of critical state need, then we need to explore bonding,” he said.
In any event, the bill would not increase Florida’s bonding authority, but rather shift that authority among various trust funds.
The need is great, Bradley said, pointing to recent sewage discharges in Tampa Bay, drought in the Everglades, and problems with the state’s rivers and springs.
The amended bill, for example, would provide $35 million for projects along

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James Madison Institute says Lake O land buy could cost economy $695 million

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

Senate President Joe Negron’s plan to buy land south of Lake Okeechobee could cost the Florida economy 4,148 jobs and $695 million a year, according to a new report from conservative think tank James Madison Institute.
The report, titled “$ticker $hock,” estimates the land buy would have a direct negative impact of $345 million and 1,915 jobs lost, with an additional $350 million and 2,233 jobs lost indirectly.
Negron’s plan, found in SB 10, would have the state purchase 60,000 acres of mainly agricultural land to reduce Lake Okeechobee discharges by building a reservoir. The plan would cost the state $1.2 billion.
The plan is most heavily opposed by U.S. Sugar, which owns most of the land in question. Since Negron made the issue a priority, the company has downplayed the role its operations play in the discharges, and offering up its own studies showing that the allegations are not supported by science.
The JMI estimate includes a statewide loss of nearly $110 million in household income and $42 million in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments.
About 45 percent of the job losses would happen in Palm Beach and Hendry counties, while the same counties would absorb more nearly 60 percent of the economic dip.
The towns surrounding the land buy area – Belle Glade, South Bay, Clewiston and Pahokee – would be the hardest hit.
The report emphasized the importance of agriculture as one of the “Big Three” economic drivers in the state while also saying that protecting “our state’s most cherished natural treasure, the Everglades, is vital to Floridians.”
The group concluded that this and a JMI previous study “clearly illustrate that using taxpayer dollars to declare eminent domain on 60,000 acres of agricultural land south of Lake Okeechobee would not only fail to help address the challenges present, but would in fact

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Pam Bondi still a rock star with Florida’s GOP voters, new AIF poll shows

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

Florida’s top lawmakers and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam are struggling with low name identification among likely Republican voters, but that isn’t the case for Attorney General Pam Bondi according to a new poll from statewide business advocate Associated Industries of Florida.
The AIF poll of likely Republican voters obtained by Florida Politics found that 54 percent approve of the job the second-term Attorney General is doing, while just 12 percent have an unfavorable view and 17 percent said they had no opinion.
Among Florida’s top elected Republicans, Bondi’s ratings only trailed Gov. Rick Scott, who had a net 67 percent approval rating, and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, who netted 57 percent approval.

Putnam, who is considered an early frontrunner to take over for Scott, scored 38 percent approval from the same crowd, with 3 percent voicing disapproval and 20 percent saying they had no opinion.
Putnam did come out on top in the mock ballot test for the Republican primary for Florida governor with 22 percent support, though 71 percent said they were undecided. The next highest vote-getter was House Speaker Richard Corcoran with 4 percent support.
AIF also tested the waters for the cabinet positions opening up in 2018, though each scenario featured “undecided” winning over 80 percent of the vote.
In other words, “there’s no news here,” notes Ryan Tyson, Vice President of Political Operations for AIF.
The low level of support for Corcoran likely stems from the fact only 44 percent 0f those polled knew who he was. Of those, 16 percent said approved of the job he was doing, while 4 percent disapproved and 24 percent had no opinion.
Senate President Joe Negron and Senate Appropriations Chair Jack Latvala had even lower name ID than the House Speaker, with just 41 percent and 25 percent recognizing their names, respectively.
Still, both enjoyed relative approval from the Republican

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Joe Negron envisions block grants system for Medicaid in Florida

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016

Senate President Joe Negron wants to start prepairing for a day when Congress turns the Medicaid system into a block grant program administered by the states.
“What I’d like to see the Legislature do … is to start building the framework of what a block grant program would look like now that there is a reasonable chance that that could happen,” the Republican from Stuart told reporters Tuesday during a briefing in his Capitol office.
“I don’t want to wait until the federal government acts and Congress acts and we go into the next session and try to build it. I would like to fill out the model of what a Florida-run Medicaid would look like, and then — if and when Washington acts — Florida would be ready to go.
Donald Trump has proposed switching Medicaid, which mostly covers low-income people, from an entitlement program largely paid for by the federal government into block grants that would allow states to excercise more control. They could save money by providing care to fewer people.
Negron cast his proposal in more generous terms — as a way of “rather than treating Medicaid as a program where even the vocabulary that we use is disparaging, in my opinion — we say someone is on Medicaid, as if its an addiction; no one says, ‘I’m on health insurance’ — use an ownership adjective,” he said.
“I would like to see a system that empowered our friends and neighbors, millions of them, who get their health care from Medicaid.”
In other words, Medicaid no longer would represent “second-tier medical care,” Negron said.
“That’s what I aspire to. Part of that would come if the state is given the opportunity to build a program that looks like Florida and addresses our issues.”
Such a system also might address the “Medicaid gap” — a problem for

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