January 23, 2019

Florida Rulemaking Process: What Happens Behind the Scenes?

There is much policy-making that happens beyond the walls of the Capitol. Florida’s administrative agencies are required to follow a public process for adopting rules. Rules are public statements of how agencies intend to implement laws. They cover an extensive range of topics — everything from telecommunications to the transport of poultry. Rules have an enormous impact on the lives of Floridians.

Not surprisingly, there are some rulemaking proceedings that attract lots of attention from special interests. But rules that impact the daily lives of Floridians — particularly those who have very little means and resources — are usually adopted with little or no public oversight. That’s why the Florida Policy Institute (FPI) is one of the few groups who gets involved in the state agency rulemaking process for safety net programs like Medicaid and SNAP (formerly known as food stamps).

Earlier this month, FPI participated in two workshops and provided extensive comments to the state Department of Children and Families (DCF) on draft rules relating to Medicaid eligibility. Effective January 1, 2014, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) made significant changes on how Medicaid income eligibility is calculated. While DCF amended its policies behind the scenes to align with the new federal law, these changes have not yet been formally adopted into rules.

Now, with the start of the formal rulemaking process, the public will have an opportunity to vet how DCF is implementing these ACA changes and make recommendations for modifications.

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