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.
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. According to the Florida Policy Institute, Medicaid expansion would earn the state a total net savings of $198,995,000 in the first year alone.
Importantly, states will be able to afford Medicaid expansion after the House bill’s FMAP incentive expires. The two-year FMAP bump will take states through the period when demand for Medicaid is highest, as a result of the pandemic and recession. As the economy recovers in the coming years, fewer people will be eligible for Medicaid at the end of the two-year bump than are today.
Even without the ARP’s enhanced FMAP, Medicaid expansion is an exceptionally good deal for Florida. The federal government pays 90 percent of the cost of expansion by returning our state’s federal tax dollars to provide health care. Like the FPI report points out, the net cost of expansion is less after accounting for savings on other state programs and increased revenues. Prior to and during the pandemic and recession expansion produced net savings for many states, including Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, and Virginia.
Florida literally can’t afford to pass up on Medicaid expansion anymore.
Both House bills for Medicaid expansion (HB 443/HB 341) have been referred to the Finance & Facilities Subcommittee, where we are fighting to have the issue heard and debated. You can urge the members of the committee to have a hearing for Medicaid expansion by using the form on this page.
The Health Care for Florida Coalition is the official campaign working to make Medicaid expansion a reality in Florida. There are several ways you can get involved, including:
Share Health Care Stories - If you have a story or a good source of story leads and want to work directly with our story banker to collect stories from your community: Email Tomica Smith at FLVoices@HealthyFLA.org OR Use our online form to submit a story: www.healthcareforfl.org/share.
Recruit Friends and Family to Sign the Petition - Encourage your networks to sign the petition, have them enter your name in the “Referred By” field, and the top 3 referrers each month will receive a $30 Amazon gift card. Text MEDEX4FL to 52886 or www.healthcareforfl.org to sign the petition.
Meet With Your Legislators - Commit to contact your legislator by emailing us at FLVoices@healthyfla.org. HC4FL and FVH will follow-up to help prep and connect to lawmakers.