We have made it to the start of the 2021 Florida legislative session. The sixty day session (March 2 - April 30) will undoubtedly be critical to how Florida recovers from the pandemic. As always, health care will be front and center.
In a recent South Florida Hospital News article, Florida Hospital Association CEO, Mary Mayhew, explains that “Going into budget discussions this year, lawmakers must contend with a deficit of over $2 billion, including a projected $1.2 billion shortfall in general revenue for Medicaid.” However, the American Rescue Plan is changing the landscape and calculus for state legislators.
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.