Both the House and Senate Health Care Appropriations Subcommittees released their budget proposals this week.  While it is still early in the process, a few issues to highlight include:

  • Both budget proposals provide just over $20M in funding for the non-expansion “woodwork” population, which refers to individuals who are currently eligible for but not enrolled in Medicaid.  The state anticipates that these individuals will be more likely to enroll in the Medicaid program as a result of certain provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, including streamlined enrollment processes as well as the individual health insurance mandate.
  • As required by the federal Affordable Care Act, funding is provided to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for primary care physicians to Medicare reimbursement rates. Federal dollars will fund this increase for the next two years, after which the state will determine whether to keep the reimbursement rates aligned. 
  • Community mental health and substance abuse funding does not appear to be targeted for reductions, as has been the case in the past few years.  In fact, programs will likely see additional funding.
  • Additional funding is also provided to serve more individuals through the Nursing Home Diversion and Aged and Disabled Adult Medicaid Waiver programs. 

The Senate also released some draft proviso language, although the House has not yet made this available.  FAC will keep you updated on budget issues as we move closer to the conference weeks.  Read more on Health and Human Services…

Health and Human Services

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. 
    • Outlook: The bills have support from various stakeholders, including the counties, Department of Veterans Affairs, and funeral industry representatives. FAC is extremely pleased to see HB 171 pass in the House so early in the Legislative Session.  SB 370 continues to move and has received no opposition thus far. 

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, although county and city elected officials from Chair Roberson’s district (Charlotte County) have communicated to him their support for the bill.

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


SPB 7038 – Relating to Health Care

  • Summary: Creates “Healthy Florida” within the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation, to provide individuals who fall below 138% of the federal poverty level with access to subsidized private health insurance. 
    • The plan is an alternative to Medicaid expansion pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, but relies on the same federal dollars for funding.  Federal approval would be required in order for the state to gain access to these funds.
    • Enrollees would be offered choices of plans, which would be required to cover certain services and provide health savings accounts. Enrollees would have to meet certain cost-sharing requirements based on their income, which could be as low as $3 or $4 co-pays.
    • Plans would be required to meet an 85 percent medical loss ratio.
  • Status: The Senate Appropriations Committee moved to introduce SPB 7038 as a committee bill.  The bill will now be referred to additional committees of reference at the Senate President’s discretion.