Proposed Florida budgets would cut Medicaid spending

Florida legislators released their proposed budgets for the upcoming year last week. The budgets proposed by both the House and the Senate include cuts to Medicaid and other programs to make up for a projected budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Senate budget would make two major cuts to hospitals in the state. Over $251 million will be cut from Medicaid inpatient and outpatient rates. The plan will also cut $77 million worth of funds for hospitals that serve a lot of Medicaid patients.

 

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The House budget would recommend reducing Medicaid payments for hospital inpatient and outpatient care by $288 million. Safety net hospitals will receive a cut in the House plan as well, with a $226 million reduction to the “critical care fund”.

Mary Mayhew, CEO of the Florida Hospital Association, released a statement opposing the cuts. She said:

“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. 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. We call upon our state leaders to use a small portion of the $10 billion in new federal COVID-19 relief money to help Florida’s hospitals and the patients they serve.”

Florida is expected to receive $10 billion in funding from the American Rescue Plan, which passed on March 11. The federal government has also agreed to increase their contribution to the state’s Medicaid by 6.2% during the pandemic.

The Senate plan will also cut over $100 million from optional Medicaid offerings, such as vision, hearing and podiatric care. The Agency for Persons with Disabilities will see a $3.2 million cut as well.

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.