Senate Slashes $1B from Health Budget

The Senate has made a proposal to cut a total of $1 billion from Florida’s Health and Human Services programs.

The cuts are expected to hurt hospitals and leave many people in the community without necessary funds for health care. This proposal will cut a slew funding from core programs that some Tallahassee residents depend on.

There will be a 10 percent cut from Medicaid and a 5 percent cut to state nursing home funding. The cuts do not stop there; the proposal also terminates funding for adults that require outpatient mental health and substance abuse services.

Florida’s “Medically Needy” program is also up for elimination. This program gives people with severe medical conditions that did not qualify for Medicaid funding to pay for hospital and drug bills. With the new proposed budget, doctor visits may also be cut.

“A lot of families will be hurt by these budget cuts. It’s sad that our community has to deal with the repercussions of these cuts. I would hope that people will realize the loss and start fundraisers of some sort to help with the lack of funding,” said Reshod Johnson, 21, an agri-business student from Tallahassee.

A total of $28 billion is still left for Health and Human Services, but the $1 billion cut from leaves an impact on these programs. With close to 19 million Floridians, there is no exact method to determine how much funding is necessary. Sickness cannot be predicted.

Tallahassee resident Blake Hall, 26, shares Johnson’s sentiments.

“Budget cuts have become a reality for almost every program. There are budget cuts for schools and it was only a matter of time before it affected health and human services programs. I am fortunate enough to have medical coverage but for those that don’t it is a harsh reality,” said Hall.

Although this is the proposed budget for the fiscal year starting July 1 and ending June 30, 2012 there is still a possibility that appropriations can come up in the Senate to receive additional funds.

“These budget cuts will hurt hospitals but only will tell if this cut will make a serious impact. It’s important that doctors now really focus on giving top notch care to patients when they can afford it,” said Dr. Abeer Elmohandes, who practices family medicine in Tallahassee.