Deep cuts proposed by some lawmakers will leave Florida’s most vulnerable without access to critical health care services. The Florida Hospital Association (FHA) launched its “Some Cuts Won’t Heal” campaign at a press conference featuring Florida caregivers and health care professionals who oppose cutting Medicaid, the program that provides health care coverage for children, pregnant women, low-income families, the elderly and the disabled. Deep cuts proposed by some lawmakers will leave Florida’s most vulnerable without access to critical health care services.
Medicaid funding in Florida is already among the lowest in the nation. Based on public data that states send to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Florida is:
- Number 48 in the nation in overall Medicaid spending for children, pregnant women, low-income families, the elderly and disabled
- Number 50 in the nation in Medicaid spending for children (age 18 and younger)
- Number 43 in the nation in Medicaid spending for disabled (under age 65 who are reported as eligible due to a disability)
- Number 42 in the nation in Medicaid spending for the aged (age 65 and older)
Drastic cuts to already low funding levels will be devastating to those who rely on Medicaid for health care services. If Medicaid funding is cut, patients will go without health care. In some cases, this may be lifesaving care. Yesterday, the “Some Cuts Won’t Heal” campaign began sharing the story of Lakota Lockhart, a seven-year-old Plant City boy who received lifesaving services through Medicaid.
“It is early in the Session and the budget process is now underway,” said FHA President Bruce Rueben. “I am hopeful that our Legislators will develop a budget that reflects the values of the vast majority of Floridians. Those values place a high priority on providing healthcare access to our most vulnerable children, disabled and low income elderly.
Medicaid funding reductions impact all patients who receive hospital care in Florida. Potential impacts include cuts to vital services, longer emergency room waits and reduced access to care and treatment. Drastic funding reductions also lead to increased uncompensated care, which in turn, raise health insurance premiums for Floridians, families and businesses.
The calls for cuts to Medicaid funding in Florida also come amid uncertainty about federal health care policy and funding as Congress works to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. A move to overhaul federal Medicaid allocations using block grants or per capita caps could significantly disadvantage states such as Florida that, historically, have had low Medicaid spending.
“With uncertainty at the federal level right now, the proposed budget cuts would reduce access to care and critical services for our patients,” added Rueben.