5 issues to know in regards to the Florida well being care price range

TALLAHASSEE – If you happen to pick a dollar out of Florida’s $ 101.5 billion budget, there is a good chance you will be on a health program.

That means Florida’s health spending plan sheds a lot of light on the priorities of heads of state. Who is covered under the government’s Medicaid program? Where Are Billions of Federal Dollars Going? How does the state care for its most vulnerable citizens?

Last week, lawmakers answered all of these questions when it agreed how to spend more than $ 44 billion on health care spending.

Here are five things you should know about the budget.

1. Thanks to the federal government, there are few major cuts

Initially, the health budget looked grim. Taken together, the House and Senate proposed profound cuts to hospitals, nursing homes, and Medicaid benefits for 19- and 20-year-olds.

None of these cuts reached the proposed budget. Under President Donald Trump, the federal government agreed to give Florida hundreds of millions of additional Medicaid dollars. This was done to ensure that Medicaid, a health program for the poor and the sick funded by a combination of state and federal funds, didn’t burn too big a hole in state budgets during the pandemic.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced earlier this month that it would extend the federal public health emergency through July 20 so that Florida can continue to access additional Medicaid funds. The administration is expected to extend the aid until at least the end of the year.

Connected: Florida Receives Medicaid Funding From The Federal Government

The additional Medicaid money – at least $ 400 million – was crucial in drawing up the state budget.

“It has enabled us to fully improve on all healthcare cuts,” said Rep. Jay Trumbull, R-Panama City, the House’s budget chairman.

2. Florida Advanced Medicaid Benefits for New Mothers …

House spokesman Chris Sprowls, R-Palm Harbor, said he will make maternal health a priority. In March, he announced that he intended to extend the Medicaid eligibility period for new mothers from 60 days to one year.

This was a big change. Medicaid covers more than half of all births in Florida. Proponents say giving uninsured new mothers just 60 days of health coverage is not enough to ensure they recover properly from childbirth.

“Healthy mothers are better positioned to raise healthy, blooming children,” Sprowls said at a March press conference that was supported by lawmakers from both parties.

Sprowls’ proposal is part of a nationwide bipartisan push for expanded Medicaid maternal coverage. Legislators in dozens of states, from deep blue Illinois to ruby ​​red West Virginia, have either been studying or planning to implement an extension in recent years.

During budget negotiations, the House and Senate briefly argued over the cost of the program: about $ 89 million in government funds and about $ 151 million in federal dollars. Some Florida hospitals rejected an initial House of Representatives proposal that would have expanded Medicaid for new mothers while cutting state funding to nine hospitals that provide care for the highest risk births in the state.

Connected: Florida’s proposal to help new mothers is a sticking point in the budget negotiations

But hospitals, sprowls, and health justice attorneys all got what they wanted. If Governor Ron DeSantis does not veto the Medicaid renewal, it will become Florida law on July 1st.

3. … But Florida didn’t expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act

The federal government would have given Florida more than $ 3 billion in incentives over the next two years if it had decided to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The expansion of coverage itself would have cost about $ 1.2 billion, and the state would have been about $ 1.8 billion in the black in those two years.

Democratic lawmakers have been arguing for years that the state would be foolish not to expand Medicaid. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, around 790,000 more Floridians would be insured. Now that the federal government has allayed concerns about the cost of the program, there’s no reason for the state government not to take up the policy, Democrats say.

However, Republican leaders have stated that they have no interest in expanding Medicaid. They argue that the role of government is to promote self-sufficiency, not to expand government programs. They also indicate the timeline. After fiscal 2023, the federal government would cover 90 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid. Republicans say the 10 percent left to the state would make the program too expensive.

For Anne Swerlick, a policy analyst at the progressive Florida Policy Institute, resisting Medicaid’s expansion makes little sense. How, she wondered, are Republicans so willing to expand Medicaid coverage for new mothers and still reluctant to expand it to hundreds of thousands of additional low-income Floridians?

“What happens after this year?” Swerlick was referring to the Medicaid coverage year that will soon be available to new mothers. “If they are still on the same level of income, they will fall off the cliff of uninsured people again.”

4. Florida is still fighting the scourge of opioid addiction

The state budget is at least $ 131 million for programs to treat and manage opioid addiction. Tens of millions more are going into other addiction treatment efforts. Most of the opioid-specific money – about $ 90 million – comes in the form of a state Opioid Response Grant. Much of this money goes into treatments like methadone and naltrexone, which are aimed at discouraging opioid users.

Another large chunk, about $ 11 million, would come from McKinsey & Company, which reached a nine-digit deal with 47 states and Washington DC in February on their role in the opioid epidemic. Florida received approximately $ 40 million from the deal, Attorney General Ashley Moody announced in February. Much of the money in this year’s budget will go to the Department of Children and Families for opioid abuse programs.

McKinsey, a global consulting firm, agreed to the deal after reportedly helping a leading pharmaceutical company commercialize its deadly and addicting products. McKinsey’s actions helped fuel an addiction crisis that killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, attorneys general across the country alleged. (The settlement document stated that “no part of this judgment … constitutes evidence of liability, fault, or misconduct on the part of McKinsey.”)

Despite the eight-digit deal, Moody has acknowledged that opioid addiction will remain a daunting challenge for Florida.

“While securing these funds is a big win for Florida, our work is far from complete,” Moody said in a February press release.

5. An important waiting list is getting shorter

More than 20,000 Floridians with developmental disabilities are on a waiting list for home health care provided through the government’s Medicaid program. Many have been on the list for years.

In last year’s budget, the state approved more than $ 30 million in new spending for the iBudget program. The money has taken about 640 people off the waiting list.

This year the legislation more than tripled last year’s performance. Legislators have proposed $ 95 million to remove even more people with disabilities from the waiting list.

Some disability advocates say the state could do more for their community. For example, lawmakers could allow working people with disabilities to participate in the government’s Medicaid program. This would allow many in the disability community to more easily afford the services they need, proponents say.

Even so, Republican leaders are promoting the dent they are making this year.

“(This is) a significant increase in funding for the most vulnerable,” Trumbull said Monday.

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Legislation coverage of the Tampa Bay Times Florida

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