TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - With Medicaid enrollment up 20% since the start of the pandemic, the Florida Hospital Association and Florida Medical Association are teaming up to urge Congress to include an extension of enhanced federal Medicaid funding in the next round of COVID-19 relief.
In a letter sent today to Florida's congressional delegation on behalf of more than 200 member hospitals and health systems and more than 25,000 physicians and medical students, Florida's two leading health care associations stressed the importance of continuing the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) through at least June 2022.
"An end to the battle against COVID-19 and the public health emergency will not immediately reverse the economic crisis driving the state's soaring growth in Medicaid," said Mary Mayhew, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association. "Extending enhanced federal Medicaid funding will spare our hospitals and health care workers from drastic cuts at a time when they are playing an invaluable role during the pandemic, and provide needed certainty to state lawmakers during their upcoming budget deliberations."
The number of Medicaid enrollees in Florida has increased by more than 750,000 since the beginning of the pandemic and caseload growth does not appear to be slowing. The 6.2% increase in federal funding, originally included as part of the Families First Act, is a key tool to help Florida cover its increased Medicaid costs from increased enrollment. The enhanced federal funding is currently tied to the continuation of the federal government's public health emergency, which can only be extended in 90-day increments.
"It is vital that states have access to the funds they need to effectively battle this pandemic," said Tim Stapleton, CEO of the Florida Medical Association. "By continuing to supply enhanced federal Medicaid funding through the next fiscal year, Congress can help ensure that medical practices and hospitals across Florida do not face added economic instability at this crucial juncture in our fight against the virus."
Governor Ron DeSantis last week recommended a 2021-2022 state budget that includes a 17.18% general revenue increase for the Agency for Health Care Administration and no cuts to Florida hospitals. This budget proposal also includes an overall increase of $3 billion to the state's Medicaid budget. Enhanced federal Medicaid funding reduces the amount of state revenue needed to cover the health care costs for Medicaid recipients in Florida.
A copy of the letter to the Florida congressional delegation can be found here.
About the Florida Hospital Association
Founded in 1927, the Florida Hospital Association is the leading voice for health care in the State of Florida. Through representation and advocacy, education and informational services, the Florida Hospital Association supports the mission of over 200 hospitals and health care systems to provide the highest quality of care to the patients we serve. Led by President and CEO Mary Mayhew, the Florida Hospital Association has offices in Tallahassee and Orlando and is governed by a Board of Trustees and officers elected by the member institutions. For more information, visit www.fha.org.
About the Florida Medical Association
Founded in 1874, the Florida Medical Association is a professional association dedicated to the service and assistance of Doctors of Medicine and Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine in Florida. The FMA represents more than 25,000 physicians and medical students on issues of legislation and regulatory affairs, medical economics and education, public health, and ethical and legal issues. FMA advocates for physicians and their patients to promote the public health, ensure the highest standards of medical practice, and to enhance the quality and availability of health care in the Sunshine State. For additional information, please go to www.FLMedical.org.