The House OKs a budget
Following two more hours of floor debate, the Florida House voted Thursday to approve its version of a new $65.1-billion budget by a 72-41 vote. The action sets the stage for conference negotiations with the Senate, where there are major differences on spending in education, health care and trust fund diversions.
As the House voted, a group representing Florida's 14 public, teaching and children's hospitals released a paper saying the cuts in both chambers' Medicaid budgets will be "ripping holes in Florida's safety net." The report by the Safety Net Hospital Alliance of Florida said: "Eliminating or reducing crucial Medicaid programs puts lives at risk and drives up the cost of health care for all Floridians."
Two of the biggest cuts cited by the alliance are in the Medically Needy program, which gives care for 19,500 uninsured working poor people who have catastrophic illnesses of organ transplants, and the Medicaid program for the aged and disabled for 24,000 people.