Florida legislature: Medical debt less of a concern than expanding health care to Floridians

January 17, 2020

House Speaker Jose Oliva has cited the example of other states when it comes to CS/HB 607 which would allow advanced practice registered nurses to admit, handle care in, or discharge patients from facilities. However, Speaker Oliva continues to ignore the proven positive impacts of Medicaid expansion implemented by even more states.

 

Based on findings in 32 other states, Medicaid expansion would clearly help hundreds of thousands of Floridians who go without any health care coverage because they do not make enough money to qualify for tax credits under the Patient and Protection Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

The ACA allows states to expand their state Medicaid program, where the federal government will pay 90% of the cost and the state the remaining 10%. Florida’s current matching Medicaid program receives about 62% of federal funding with the state having to raise the additional 38%.

 

The Florida legislature has consistently refused to expand Medicaid and the leadership won’t even discuss it at this point. Even while the state’s official economist warns that Florida is losing $70.4 million in Medicaid disproportionate share funding. Disproportionate share dollars are used to fund rural and children’s hospitals, state mental health facilities and graduate medical training at teaching hospitals across Florida. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion would save the Florida budget an estimated $200 million a year.  

 

Instead, this session (Jan 14 – Mar) lawmakers are considering a bill to permanently cut Medicaid Retroactive Eligibility from 90 days to 30 days. This shortened time to file for Medicaid pushes more and more vulnerable Floridians into medical debt.

 

Doesn’t it just make fiscal sense to expand the Medicaid program and have all Florida’s citizens covered for their health care needs, rather than leaving hundreds of thousands of people without care and drive millions more into medical debt?

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