PIRG Plans Protest Outside WellCare

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Health advocates are planning to protest outside WellCare’s office in Tampa in hopes of drawing attention to the state’s pending Medicaid overhaul.

The Florida Public Interest Research Group is urging federal health officials to deny Florida a waiver to expand its Medicaid pilot program.

The Republican led legislature passed bills privatizing the Medicaid program statewide this year. Some health advocates worry the overhaul is a target for fraud and will allow for-profit providers to pocket the money instead of spending it on patient care.

WellCare Health Plans Inc. is one of the state’s largest Medicaid providers. The company agreed to pay $80 million in 2009 under an agreement allowing them to avoid criminal prosecution for health care fraud.

The protest is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Source: Associated Press