The Bush administration approved a sweeping Medicaid plan for Florida on Wednesday that limits spending for many of the 2.2 million beneficiaries there and gives private health plans new freedom to limit benefits.

The Florida program, likely to be a model for many other states, shifts from the traditional Medicaid "defined benefit" plan to a "defined contribution" plan, under which the state sets a ceiling on spending for each recipient.

Children under the age of 21 and pregnant women will be exempt from the limits.

The Florida plan says, "The state will set aside a specific amount of money for each person enrolled in Medicaid," based on the person's medical condition and historic use of health care.

Michael O. Leavitt, secretary of health and human services, approved the proposal 16 days after it was formally submitted to him, with strong support from Gov. Jeb Bush.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/10/20/na...59&partner=AOL