Advertisement
  1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Florida healthcare faces $543 million gap in House and Senate showdown

Senate Republicans roll out a $37.7 billion initial plan that in part looks to restructure how Medicaid reimbursements are distributed to hospitals in the state.
Published Mar. 20
Updated Mar. 20

TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida House and Senate will have to resolve a $543 million budget disagreement on healthcare funds to reach a balanced budget this year, centered again on a recurring dispute over how to reimburse hospitals for providing Medicaid care across the state.

House and Senate healthcare budget leaders released initial proposals this week for the state’s six agencies that need their funding approval, with Senate Republicans rolling out a $37.7 billion initial plan Wednesday that in part looks to restructure how Medicaid reimbursements are distributed to hospitals in the state.

House Republicans a day earlier had said they intended to allocate nearly $37.2 billion to the state’s healthcare operations, in part by trimming hospital Medicaid reimbursement spending by about $110 million.

Their plans differ most substantially — as they have in years past — on how reimbursements are allocated to hospitals: the current system gives each hospital a base rate but adds additional Medicaid payments, or automatic rate enhancements, to a class of about two dozen hospitals who see the highest percentage of Medicaid patients in the state.

The Senate is again rolling out a different model, which would reshuffle the higher percentage of additional Medicaid payments in a “critical care fund” into the base rates paid to all hospitals. The overall amount of money the state would pay for Medicaid reimbursements would remain the same.

House Speaker José Oliva, R-Miami Lakes, has made healthcare deregulation a key plank of his first-year leadership agenda, though the House’s plan preserves the existing funding structure for reimbursements. It does call to reduce reimbursements in inpatient and outpatient care by about $110 million in federal and state funds, or 3 percent from the prior year. House Republicans have yet to release details to accompany the healthcare budget plan, which means it is still unclear exactly how much money some hospitals across the state stand to gain or lose.

One key point of agreement between both chambers: making permanent a $103 million cut to Medicaid retroactive eligibility, a policy that determines how long the safety-net program will cover bills prior to a patient’s application for coverage. Lawmakers decided last year to ask the federal government for a waiver to shorten that period from three calendar months to one, and the change went into effect in February.

But the Florida Legislature would need to approve the program again for it to continue past the end of this fiscal year in June.

The House plan also would require the Agency for Persons with Disabilities to restructure its existing Medicaid program if the chronically underfunded agency has a deficit by June. The Senate’s funding plan for the agency allocates $74.5 million to address a deficit and does not call for a similar restructuring.

The program, which currently serves about 34,000 people, has a waiting list of about 21,000 for the program.

Both chambers also propose adding $24 million to the Department of Children and Families’ budget to address an anticipated shortfall in federal funding when a waiver from the federal government expires in September. That funding gap, which is caused by an impending national shift in how the federal government plans to allocate money to states for child welfare programs, would go largely to the community-based care lead agencies that oversee those operations in a handful of privatized regions around the state.

Both chambers will need to agree on a budget in the coming weeks for the 2019-20 fiscal year starting July 1.

ALSO IN THIS SECTION

  1. United States Air Force veteran Daniel Carmichael, of Inverness, shares his opinion before a meeting of the Board of County Commissioners of Citrus County on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, at the Citrus County Courthouse in Inverness, where the Citrus County Commission is expected to render a decision on whether to get digital subscriptions for the New York Times for all 70,000 of the county library cardholders. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  TImes
    After two hours of debate, a motion to move forward with digital subscriptions for library cardholders fails 3-2.
  2. Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at pre-legislative news conference on Tuesday Oct. 29, 2019, in Tallahassee, Fla. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon) STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    He’s got a new voucher proposal, as well.
  3. FILE - This March 28, 2017, file photo, provided by the New York State Sex Offender Registry, shows Jeffrey Epstein. Two correctional officers responsible for guarding Jeffrey Epstein the night before he took his own life are expected to face criminal charges this week for falsifying prison records. That’s according to two people familiar with the matter. The federal charges could come as soon as Tuesday and are the first in connection with Epstein’s death.. (New York State Sex Offender Registry via AP, File) AP
    “The FBI is involved and they are looking at criminal enterprise, yes,” said the nation’s top prisons administrator to Senators on Tuesday.
  4. The David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts illuminated its new sign for the first time on Dec. 6, 2010. Times (2010)
    The historic donation that renamed the Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center is still impacting Tampa Bay’s arts community.
  5. In this Thursday, Aug. 1, file photo, Amanda Kondrat'yev, the woman accused of throwing a sports drink at U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz in June outside a town hall meeting, arrives at Winston Arnow Federal Court House in Pensacola, Fla. Kondrat'yev has been sentenced to 15 days in federal custody for throwing the sports drink at Gaetz. TONY GIBERSON  |  AP
    Amanda Kondrat’yev pleaded guilty to assault in August and had faced up to a year in jail.
  6. On the issue of whether to retroactively apply changes in Florida’s sentencing laws to inmates currently in prison, Gov. Ron DeSantis says he prefers to deal with cases using the clemency process. STEVE CANNON  |  AP
    Hundreds of Florida inmates are serving sentences no longer in state law, according to new research.
  7. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is proposing $1 billion in increased teacher pay as part of a $91.4 billion state budget he put forward on Monday. CHRIS URSO  |  Times
    The Florida governor also wants to hire hundreds of new corrections officers and spend $1.4 billion on hurricane recovery.
  8. FILE - In this Aug. 1, 2019, file photo, Donald Trump Jr. speaks before the arrival of President Donald Trump at a campaign rally at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File) JOHN MINCHILLO  |  AP
    University of Florida student body president Michael Murphy received a resolution for his impeachment Tuesday. Then the state’s Republican Party started an online petition and fundraiser.
  9. Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, filed a bill, HB 1161, to implement online voter registration in 2018.
    This week, GOP senators rallied support around Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples, to become Senate president for the 2023 and 2024 legislative session.
  10. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, right, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington on Friday, in the second public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. SUSAN WALSH  |  AP
    Experts on foreign policy said it was ridiculous to think that one person could turn a country “bad.”
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement