May 1, 2017

American Health Care Act Harmful to Florida Women

Nearly 40 million women in the U.S. rely on the Medicaid program, which covers 63 percent of births in Florida

LAKE MARY, FL – The Florida Policy Institute (FPI) today pointed to new findings by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) showing that the health care bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives — namely its capping and cutting of the Medicaid program — would be harmful to the 2.35 million women and girls in Florida who rely on the program.

“It’s not enough for the U.S. Senate to simply reject the House’s version of ‘repeal and replace,’ the American Health Care Act — they need to reject any bill that does not preserve Medicaid expansion, institutes per capita caps or block grants or eliminates protections for essential health benefits and people with pre-existing conditions,” said Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute.

The bill passed by the House also specifically targets access to women’s health care services by barring states from reimbursing Planned Parenthood for its preventive health and family planning services for Medicaid participants.

Medicaid provides health care for nearly half of all pregnant women, supporting them through their pregnancies and ensuring that their babies have a healthy start. Additionally, because women live longer than men, women are much more likely to use Medicaid’s long-term services and supports as they age.

Notably, Medicaid covers 63 percent of all deliveries in Florida, according to the state Agency on Health Care Administration.

In Florida 2.35 million girls and women are enrolled in Medicaid, of whom 37 percent are white, 33 percent are Hispanic and 25 percent are African-American.

Even women who maintain Medicaid eligibility would be at great risk of losing critical services. FPI notes that Florida could opt to eliminate prescription coverage or limit the number of prescriptions covered, leaving women with chronic conditions such as heart disease, lupus or diabetes without necessary medications.

“There are girls and women of all ages in Florida who depend on Medicaid. It is crucial for the U.S. Senate to protect this program, not to cut or radically restructure it. I urge Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to protect the health of their constituents and accept only legislation that does not cap or cut Medicaid, fully protects vulnerable populations and preserves expansion. Because anything less would be a nightmare for Sunshine State children and families,” added Pennisi.

The Florida Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting widespread prosperity through timely, thoughtful and objective analysis of state policy issues affecting economic opportunity.

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