This week, the Senate Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act joined the House in rejecting Medicaid expansion with a vote down party lines. Instead the Senate will look toward creating an alternative approach that would draw down federal funds and provide health care coverage to uninsured Floridians. The Senate’s proposal would be modeled after the Florida Healthy Kids program, include health savings accounts, provide for co-pays for emergency room visits based on income and allow participants to purchase private health insurance. In anticipation of budget allocations being released next week and the House and Senate beginning to craft their respective budgets, FAC staff continues to educate members about the flawed state-county Medicaid cost-sharing relationship and to encourage a fair and equitable solution.  

In other news, HB 171 (Rep. Rooney) relating to unclaimed and indigent burials passed the full house unanimously with its companion bill, SB 370 (Sen. Sachs), receiving full support in its second committee stop. SB 462 (Sen. Thompson), which requires that all death certificates be recorded in county public records, passed in Senate Health Policy; originally, the bill would have required the county to pay the service charge prescribed by law for recording each certificate; however, the bill was amended in committee to waive all fees and service charges associated with recording death certificates under the section.

Read more on health and human services bills…

Disposition of Human Remains
HB 171 (R. Rooney)/SB 370 (S. Sachs)

  • Summary:
  • Clarifies and updates the statutes relating to unclaimed and indigent burials
  • Provides that counties may adopt policies and procedures for the final disposition of unclaimed human remains
  • Authorizes counties to make final disposition of unclaimed human remains under certain circumstances
  • New language (from last year): allows certain veterans organizations to assist with recovery and interment of unclaimed cremated remains of veterans
    • Status: HB 171 passed the full House unanimously.  SB 370 passed its second committee, Senate Health Policy, unanimously, and has two remaining stops. 

Smoking Preemption/Clean Indoor Air Act
HB 439 (R. Hagar)/SB 258 (S. Bradley)

  • Summary:
  • Currently, sec. 386.209, F.S. preempts the regulation of smoking to the state, except that school districts can further restrict smoking on school district property.
  • Bills would remove counties and cities from the preemption, allowing them to further restrict smoking on certain county or municipal outdoor property if they choose do to so by local ordinance. 
    • Status:
    • SB 258 passed unanimously in Senate Regulated Industries, amended to specify the locations where local governments can restrict smoking as well as the processes for enforcing local smoking ordinances. Additionally, non-smoking areas would have to be clearly defined, and designated smoking areas would be required.
    • SB 258 passed 6-3 in Senate Health Policy.  The bill allows a city or county to require, as a condition for a lease on property that it owns or controls, that smoking be prohibited on the property; however, it was amended in Senate Health Policy to provide that such a restriction may not apply to a pre-existing lease, including a lease renewal, without the lessee’s consent.
    • HB 439 has not yet been heard in its first committee of reference, Health Quality Subcommittee.

County Contributions to Medicaid Program
SB 1244 (S. Soto)/HB 1117 (R. Wood)

  • Summary: Creates study group to evaluate percentage of funds that counties are required to contribute to Medicaid program & provide recommendations to Governor/Legislature.
  • Status: 4 committee referrals in Senate; 3 in House; currently in Health & Human Services Appropriations