Medicaid Expansion Amendment Filed in Florida House; Debate on April 7th
Going into budget discussions this year, Florida lawmakers had to face a deficit of over $2 billion, including a projected $1.2 billion shortfall in general revenue for Medicaid. However, Medicaid expansion would save the state $200 million a year and the recently signed American Rescue Plan would send an additional $3 billion to Florida. After accounting for costs of expansion ($1.26 billion), Florida could expect to see a net budget windfall of more than $1.8 billion. Instead of taking this deal, last week the Florida House and Senate released proposed budgets with significant cuts to Medicaid.
The Senate proposed cuts include:
A $251.2 million reduction to inpatient and outpatient base Medicaid rates, a cut that would affect all hospitals.
A $77.3 million directed to the “critical care fund” for hospitals that treat large numbers of Medicaid patients.
A $22.6 million reduction from the elimination of Medicaid’s over-the-counter drug benefits for adults.
The House proposed cuts include:
A $288 million reduction of Medicaid payments for inpatient and outpatient hospital care (includes a $80.4 million cut in state and federal funding for Medicaid reimbursements to nursing homes).
A $226 million cut to the “critical care fund.”
A $22.6 million reduction from the elimination of Medicaid’s over-the-counter drug benefits for adults
“In the midst of a pandemic, a half-billion-dollar budget cut to hospitals is a gut punch to the doctors, nurses and health care heroes who risked their lives responding to this crisis,” Mary Mayhew, the former Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary and current President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association said in a statement. “It is simply beyond belief that during a public health emergency, some state lawmakers chose to balance the budget by cutting funding that serves the elderly, disabled and most vulnerable families in our state.”
On Wednesday, April 7, the Florida House will have the opportunity to debate Amendment 925637 to House Bill 5201, the House’s proposed health care budget. The Senate will consider Amendment 587890 to the Senate's proposed health care budget (SB 2518). Both amendments would expand Medicaid eligibility to Floridians making less than 138% of the federal poverty level. A full budget will have to pass both the Senate and the House this session. They have until April 30, the end of the legislative session, to pass the budget.
With one-click, email Florida’s legislative leadership and urge them to consider the savings from Medicaid expansion instead of harmful cuts to Florida’s most vulnerable.