$622 million. That’s how much Florida hospitals would lose next year. If these cuts go through well tonight, local health care professionals tell me this kind of hit, it’s going to hurt patients and not just the poor. Tonight a money emergency in the making for Florida hospitals. Well, we’re extremely concerned about it.
State law makers in Tallahassee under pressure to balance the budget now proposing punishing cuts to Medicaid, that would take away as much as $622 million from hospitals next year.
What’s really most in jeopardy is the most vulnerable populations that are covered by Medicaid. So in the state of Florida children, medically complex children, the elderly and the disabled are covered by Medicaid and it’s not just Medicaid patients who are effected as the Bay area’s population continues to grow. So does the demand and stress on local hospitals. If anything, we need more resources to help deal with these patients and to have the facilities, which by the way in Tampa are really superb. They’re excellent facilities, but if we start cutting the legs out from the funding, that changes and will change quickly.
So how did we get here? Governor Rick Scott made the decision to not expand Medicaid under Obamacare, which resulted in less federal money supporting health systems, leaving the state to come up with its own way to pay for the rising cost of healthcare in his state with an aging population. Now, hospitals worry, the proposed budget cuts will set a new precedent for funding. If we reduce our support this year for the Medicaid program, we take it in the wrong direction. We’re creating a new baseline for where our state invests in Medicaid. And so that potentially could be to our detriment as a state down the road.
Bottom line tonight, someone’s going to have to pay on these cuts, could wind up being a hidden tax for folks who do have insurance. One independent studies predicting that families on private insurance would end up paying an extra $1,300 a year.