Anne Swerlick
November 7, 2019

Medicaid Expansion: A Proven Solution to Florida’s Opioid Treatment “Funding Cliff”

This post was last updated on September 29, 2021. As new policies are announced, FPI will update this page.

As Florida’s response to COVID-19 takes front and center, concern grows for low-income families who struggle to take precautions against the spread of the virus. Although Congress has passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act to address, at least in part,  the public health crisis and economic fallout from COVID-19, many barriers continue to keep struggling families from accessing the assistance they need during the pandemic. As Florida initiates policies implementing the Act and addressing other barriers to the safety net, FPI will update this form. When available, hyperlinks are provided to agency documents or statements that provide greater detail  about the new policy.

On March 22, 2020, FPI and 44 other organizations sent a letter to Governor DeSantis, leadership in the Legislature and agency heads to urge action on 47 specific policy changes to reduce unnecessary barriers for Florida’s safety net programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. See the letter here.

Executive Summary

While the Florida Legislature has appropriated some new general revenue for combating the opioid epidemic, the source of most new funding is through time-limited federal grants due to expire in 2020.

But there are significant shortcomings to grant funding, which is not nearly enough to meet the need. Plus, such funding is not guaranteed from year to year — this makes providers hesitant to expand services and make longer term investments in new treatment sites.

Once federal grant funding ends, Florida will face a significant "funding cliff," presenting a large budget challenge for the state Legislature. Medicaid expansion would fill this budget hole and increase the state's capacity to meet the needs of residents.

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