FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2021
Florida Voices for Health
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Health Care Providers and Advocates Urge Florida Lawmakers to Expand Medicaid After Passage of the American Rescue Plan
The Covid relief bill provides billions in relief as incentive for non-expansion states.
Tallahassee, FL – For months, state legislators have pointed out that Florida faces a budget deficit of over $2 billion, including a projected $1.2 billion shortfall in general revenue for Medicaid. With the passage of the American Rescue Plan, Florida’s elected officials now have access to billions of dollars that would immediately ease budget pressures and increase access to care for low-income Floridians. In response, Florida’s health care providers, advocates, and policy experts are calling on the legislature to give Medicaid expansion serious consideration.
The American Rescue Plan gives states that newly expand a 5-percentage point increase in their base federal medical assistance percentage (or FMAP) for two years. According to estimates from Kaiser Family Foundation and the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Florida would receive between $3 billion and $3.5 billion additional dollars to fund health care. The money would cover Florida’s share of providing coverage and free up state dollars to avoid harmful cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic and economic crisis.
The savings from the ARP incentives would be in addition to the anticipated savings Florida would already get from Medicaid expansion. Holly Bullard, chief strategy and development officer of Florida Policy Institute said. “Expanding Medicaid would not only reduce health disparities and save lives, it would also save Florida money, including a total net savings of $198,995,000 in the first year.” FPI detailed these estimates in a report updated earlier this year.
"The passage of the American Rescue Plan is a huge win for Florida's residents. With the promise of billions of dollars as a reward for Medicaid expansion, and with approximately a million Floridians who stand to benefit, it would be scandalous for the state not to expand Medicaid. This is not politics; it's public health," said Alison Yager, executive director of the Florida Health Justice Project.
“Providing coverage for hardworking Floridians including those who have lost jobs and health insurance due to COVID-19 is key to bringing Florida’s workers and economy back,” said Scott Darius, executive director of Florida Voices for Health.