So much of what happens in Florida comes down to what happens in Tallahassee. Every year, Florida has a 60-day session and the 2021 session ended on April 30th.
This recap looks at some of the legislation from this past session including some of the bills to pass and a couple of missed opportunities to improve health access.
In the coming days, we’ll start looking ahead to what’s next in health advocacy, including the continuing campaigns for Medicaid expansion, oral health, and prescription drugs. Through our work with some of you and consumers around the state, we’ve also begun to do more to lift up issues like mental health, disabilities, and rural health access.
Please contact Florida Voices for Health to share your health care story or to tell us which issues are most important to you!
The Final Budget
Despite exploring significant cuts to health care, Florida lawmakers passed a $101.5 billion state budget. This is due, in large part, to the over 1,000 Floridians who emailed, called, and tweeted their legislators with us over the last 2 months.
Finally, Florida accepted $10.2 billion in American Rescue Plan funding from Congress but rejected an additional $3 billion to pay for Medicaid expansion. Lawmakers are instead spending just $6.7 billion of the American Rescue Plan dollars this year. The rest is going into reserves, bringing the state’s reserves to the highest level in history at $6 billion.
The final budget also delivered the biggest win of legislative session for health access by extending postpartum Medicaid coverage to 1 year (previously 60 days). This change is projected to help over 97,000 mothers (Read more from the Florida Phoenix). Florida’s postpartum coalition deserves a major shoutout for their incredible work to support this important policy victory.
The final budget includes:
Full funding for Medicaid caseloads, which are projected to reach 4.6 million in FY 2021-22
Full funding for the projected caseloads in the KidCare programs (Florida Healthy Kids MediKids and Children's Medical Services) for a total of $570 million ($421.3 million in federal funds).
Avoids cuts to hospital funding
Health Care Bills Passed by both Chambers
SB 348/HB 461 Medicare Transportation Services (Sen. Rodriguez) - Expands the types of emergency transportation vehicle services provided to Medicare-eligible persons that Medicaid will pay for.
SB 404/HB 183 Office of Minority Health and Health Equity (Sen. Rouson) - Requiring the Office of Minority Health and Health Equity to develop new equity programs and requires one representative from each county health department to serve as a minority health liaison.
SB 1024/HB 701 Increasing Access to Mental Health Care (Sen. Brodeur & Rep. Stevenson) - Requiring DFS to establish a system for tracking complaints made regarding coverage and access to mental health services.
SB 1890/HB 699 Campaign Financing (Committee bills) - Limits contributions made to political committees sponsoring constitutional amendment proposed by initiative to $3000. (Would impact a Medicaid expansion ballot initiative)
Passed by one Chamber but Failed
SB 130 Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders (Filed by Sen. Rouson) - Specifically adds the use of peer specialists as an essential element of a coordinated system of care, and requires the DCF to develop a training program for peer specialists, giving preference to trainers who are certified peer specialists.
HB 247 Telehealth Practice Standards (by Professions and Public Health Subcommittee) - Revises prohibition on prescribing controlled substances through use of telehealth to include only specified controlled substances.
HB 1155 Pharmacies and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (by Finance and Facilities Subcommittee) - Authorizes the Office of Insurance Regulation to examine and scrutinize pharmacy benefit managers.
HB 899 Managed Care Plan Performance (Rep. Bartleman & Sen. Rodriguez) -Requires the state to disaggregate or break down MCO performance measure data based on race, ethnicity, disability, and other demographics; to publicly report these measures; and to use these measures to monitor plan performance.
Died in Committee Hearings
SB 700 Telehealth (Sen. Rodriguez) – Requires AHCA to reimburse the use of some telehealth services.
SB 786 Prescription Insulin Drugs (Sen. Cruz) - Caps insured's monthly cost-sharing obligation for covered prescription insulin drugs at $100 a month
HB 1001 Step-therapy Protocols (by Finance and Facilities Subcommittee) - Requires health insurers & HMOs to publish on their websites & provide to their insureds & subscribers specified information on protocol exemptions
SJR 340 Supermajority Vote Required to Enact a Single-payor Healthcare System (Sen. Diaz) - Amends the State Constitution to provide that a single-payor health care system may not be enacted by the legislature except through legislation approved by two-thirds of the membership of each chamber of the legislature.
SB 62 Regional Planning Councils (Sen. Bradley) - Eliminating the advisory role of regional planning councils in state comprehensive plan preparation and revision
SB 828/HB 405 Mental Health and Substance Abuse (Sen. Book & Rep. Maney) - Requiring facilities to inform respondents with a serious mental illness of the essential elements of recovery and provide them assistance in accessing a continuum of care regimen
SB 2004 Broadband Internet (by Commerce and Tourism) - Requiring the Florida Office of Broadband’s strategic plan to include short-term and long-term goals for increasing the availability of and access to broadband Internet service in this state
Failed without a Hearing
SJR 276 Medicaid Expansion (Sen. Taddeo & Sen. Berman) – A joint resolution that would put the question of Medicaid expansion on the 2022 general ballot.
SB 698/HB 341 Medicaid Expansion (Rep. Duran and Sen. Jones) - Extends Medicaid eligibility to Floridians under 65 years of age, not pregnant, and whose income does not exceed 133 percent of the poverty line.
SB 556/HB 443 Medicaid Expansion (Sen. Thurston & Rep. Thompson) - Extends Medicaid eligibility to Floridians under 65 years of age, not pregnant, and whose income does not exceed 133 percent of the poverty line.
SB 604 Dental Therapy (Sen. Brandes) - Authorizes dental therapists, an oral health professional who works under the supervision of a licensed dentist, in Florida.
SB 1244/HB 201 Florida Kidcare Program Eligibility (Rep. Bartleman) - Increases income eligibility threshold for coverage under Florida Kidcare program to 300% FPL.
SB 1846/ HB 1439 Health Insurance Prior Authorization (Sen. Polsky & Rep. Skidmore) - Requiring health insurers and pharmacy benefit managers to establish an online electronic prior authorization process by a certain date
SB 1388/HB 851 Retroactive Denial of Health Care Claims (Rep. Valdes & Sen. Harrell) - Prohibits individual health insurers & health maintenance organizations from retroactively denying claim because of insured & subscriber ineligibility at any time under certain circumstances.
SB 1188/HB 119 Behavioral Health Services for Defendants with Mental Illness (Rep. Fetterhoff) - Requires sheriffs' offices in pilot counties to establish law enforcement behavioral health intervention units.
SB 852 Medicaid Modernization (Sen. Brodeur) - Authorizing Medicaid to reimburse for certain remote evaluation and patient monitoring services, etc.
SB 1038/HB 743 Insurance Coverage for Breast Cancer Tests and Procedures (Sen. Berman) - Prohibiting certain health insurance policies and health maintenance contracts from applying cost-sharing requirements to certain breast cancer tests and procedures.
SB 1078/HB 1111 Health Insurance Cost Sharing (Sen. Brodeur) - Requires insurers and their pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to apply payments by or on behalf of insureds toward the total contributions of the insureds’ cost-sharing requirements.
SB 1552/HB 1117 Medicaid Coverage for Adult Dental Services (Rep. Nixon & Sen. Pizzo) - Would put into law a comprehensive adult dental benefit in Florida Medicaid.