July 14, 2017

Statement on Amended Senate Health Care Legislation

This post was last updated on December 8, 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.

The U.S. Senate’s latest version of federal health care reform legislation keeps the harmful provisions that we’ve seen in every ‘repeal and replace’ bill to date– an end to Medicaid expansion, drastic cuts to the program, a capped funding structure and the weakening of protections for people with pre-existing conditions. By capping and cutting Medicaid, the legislation would shift the costs and risks of care for Floridians, straining the state budget and exposing low-income Floridians to exorbitant out-of-pocket medical costs.

Although Florida has not yet expanded Medicaid, we have seen important gains in the state’s insured rate under the Affordable Care Act. Thousands of low- and moderate-income Florida families have been able to purchase quality health insurance through the affordable care Marketplace– more than in any other state. Uninsured rates will once again spike upward if this legislation is enacted.

Any minor adjustments Senate leadership has made to the bill will not remedy the devastating coverage loss projected by the Congressional Budget Office under earlier versions of the legislation. Alarmingly, an effort is reportedly underway to hurry the bill to the Senate floor for a vote next week, while constituents, experts and legislators have been given no opportunity to weigh in.

Florida’s Senate delegation must reject this legislation, which was developed in the shadows and puts at risk the health of children, people with disabilities, and seniors, and instead work to improve current law.

The U.S. Senate should engage in an open and thoughtful dialogue to enhance the Affordable Care Act to increase access to affordable health care for the millions of low-income Floridians struggling to make ends meet.

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