Florida Legislature

 

The $74.2 billion state budget recommended by Gov. Rick Scott includes funding for the mandatory parts of the Affordable Care Act and bonuses for state employees, but not the optional Medicaid expansion, the Palm Beach Post reports.
 

Bill Cotterell

 Florida’s Democratic House Minority Leader is tired of the state “dragging its feet” on the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and blamed GOP lawmakers for the delay, according to the Sunshine State News.

Officials Rethink Medicaid Expansion

Jan 29, 2013
Sammy Mack / Health News Florida

When Florida sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers targeted a piece of the law that would have forced Florida to make Medicaid available to more than a million uninsured Floridians.

The U. S. Supreme Court upheld most of the act, but it made Medicaid expansion optional.

Now some Florida lawmakers who originally opposed Medicaid expansion are seriously considering that option.

House members and the governor, like thousands of other high-ranking state employees, continue to get ultra-cheap health insurance even as they’re deciding whether to expand Medicaid so that 1 million uninsured Florida citizens can get coverage, the Associated Press reports.

American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

Florida voters by a wide margin support expanding Medicaid to cover more of the state's uninsured, according to a poll sponsored by the American Cancer Society.

Support topped opposition 63 percent to 25 percent and  crossed all age and demographic groups, ACS reported. The proposal drew its strongest support from Latinos.

Florida House of Representatives

In the wake of the Newtown elementary school shooting, Florida lawmakers are looking at ways to better treat the mentally ill, according to the Palm Beach Post.

Experts say two-thirds of the mentally ill in Florida go without treatment. Meanwhile, the state ranks 49th in the nation on spending, with more funds going to hospitalization than prevention, the Palm Beach Post reports.

Hospitals Ask for Delay on New Medicaid Payment System

Jan 24, 2013

Florida hospitals asked the Legislature for a delay on the new Medicaid payment system scheduled to begin July 1, 2013.

Sen. David Simmons was a math major in college. So the Orlando Republican was well-equipped to search for flaws in cost estimates for expanding Medicaid that are floating around Tallahassee.

But he's a lawyer, not an economist. So like other senators on the Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, he had to do a lot of homework before this week's hearings with two health economists.

Forbes

Jonathan Gruber, the MIT economist  largely responsible for designing "RomneyCare" and "ObamaCare," will speak today to the Florida Senate Select Committee set up to make recommendations on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Also scheduled to speak is Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute.  Cannon will also be the headliner for a press conference Wednesday morning in Tallahassee by the James Madison Institute, which will present its reasons for opposing expansion of Medicaid with federal funds as allowed under the ACA.

Several health agencies submitted their budget proposals to the Senate Health and Human Services Appropriations Subcommittee, the Florida Current reports.

Not all of the funds would come from the state, particularly for the Agency for Health Care Administration, which receives more than half of its funding from the federal government. The Current reports that AHCA is requesting a slightly smaller budget than last year, which was about $22.3 billion.

At the Capitol: School Safety, Prisons, ALFs

Jan 16, 2013

Florida is spending $64 million this year on a “Safe Schools” program, but school boards want $100 million more, according to The Florida Current.  

The Senate Education Committee Tuesday invited three county school superintendents to talk about what’s currently being done to keep schools safe and suggest ways to make schools safer.

Drug repackaging is in contention yet again this Legislative session, with insurance companies and businesses arguing for a cap on prices and doctors (and the software company that profits from their ability to dispense drugs) insisting one isn’t needed.

Lawmakers and corporate executives convene Thursday in Orlando to talk about the future of health care, or at least how much it will cost.  Hundreds, maybe thousands of people who want to bend their ear are expected to show up.

Newly-elected state representative and emergency room doctor Cary Pigman says Florida lawmakers have given up their fight against the Affordable Care Act and will try “to make it work.”

Republicans who are in charge of the Florida governorship, House and Senate act as though there is no need to reform gun laws in the wake of last Friday's massacre of first-graders in Newtown. They need to get a clue.

As the next legislative session draws near, the Florida Association of Counties has selected Medicaid billing as a top priority.

A judge ruled the Legislature's attempt to privatize prison health care by sneaking the change into the budget, instead of holding a full vote, violates law. The state will appeal.

At a Florida senate hearing Monday to discuss how to implement the Affordable Care Act, three dozen Tea Party 9/12 members booed, yelled and demanded that the officials defy the law.

If the Affordable Care Act ends up covering most of Florida's uninsured -- a decision up to Gov. Scott and the Legislature -- taxing districts that now cover indigent care face a struggle over whether to continue. Palm Beach County is already seeing that.

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