October 8, 2019

Time to Expand Medicaid: The Numbers Speak for Themselves

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.

A recent report from the Commonwealth Fund adds to growing evidence that Florida's failure to expand Medicaid is an irrational fiscal policy choice. The report provides a five-year forecast (2020-2024) of enrollment and budget implications. If Medicaid is expanded, the report estimates that by 2024:

  • 837,514 Floridians would become eligible and enrolled;
  • $14.3 billion new federal dollars would flow into the state; and
  • Florida would see $385 million in net state savings.

According to the report, savings would be generated through:

  • currently eligible Medicaid beneficiaries, like pregnant women and adults with disabilities, converting into the new expansion group. The state would then collect the enhanced federal match for these beneficiaries (90 percent match versus the current 61.5 percent match); and
  • replacement of state dollars with new federal dollars for services such as behavioral health, corrections and uncompensated care.  

Over the five-year period, although additional Medicaid costs of $516 million are projected, these costs would be more than offset by nearly $1 billion in savings in other parts of the budget.

Commonwealth Fund concludes that Medicaid expansion would not be a budget buster. Instead, it would result in significant savings and fiscal gains far exceeding the costs of expansion. The numbers speak for themselves.

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