One million Floridians lose Medicaid coverage

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Months after  pandemic-era funding ended, cushions that afforded  millions of low-income Americans Medicaid  under the “continuous coverage” plan has left 17 million Americans ineligible for Medicaid coverage.

During the COVID-19 public health emergency, Medicaid eligibility expanded and states were not allowed to drop people who no longer qualified under the continuous enrollment provision. In Florida, the number of individuals and families seeking Medicaid assistance rose from 3.8 million to 5.4 million between March 2020 and November 2022, according to a March article by WUSF.

Ongoing legal disputes and considerable gaps in healthcare coverage underscore the state’s complex healthcare landscape. One significant lawsuit involves Florida’s legal challenge against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Health and Human Services. This lawsuit centers on issues related to healthcare funding and the Medicaid payment program.

Florida’s litigation against CMS reflects a contentious disagreement over healthcare financing and administration between state and federal entities.

Simultaneously, Health News Florida reports that Florida is appealing CMS’ decision concerning the Medicaid Directed Payment Program. This program plays a vital role in the distribution of Medicaid funding, directly impacting the availability of healthcare services for disadvantaged populations across the state.

The appeal highlights the intricate challenges within Florida’s healthcare system, particularly regarding Medicaid funding mechanisms and their implications for healthcare access and equity.

These legal actions shed light on the significant gaps and conflicts within Florida’s healthcare coverage.  Currently, nearly one million Floridians have been deemed ineligible for Medicaid and disenrolled by the state.

Florida ranks among the top 10 states with the highest number of children losing Medicaid coverage and was one of several states addressed by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra in 2023, pushing for Medicaid Redeterminations.

“I am writing to follow up on my March 2023 letter regarding states’ efforts to return to pre-COVID-19 pandemic Medicaid operations.  As full Medicaid renewals begin, it is critically important to ensure that individuals do not lose coverage due solely to administrative processes.  I urge you to adopt all options that we have offered to help eligible individuals and families maintain their health coverage during this process and leverage all state partners to support individuals and families to complete renewal forms,” Becerra said in a news release.

Instances like this  point to ongoing struggles to ensure adequate healthcare access and financing for all residents, especially those reliant on Medicaid services. As these lawsuits unfold, they emphasize the need for comprehensive solutions to address the complexities and disparities in Florida’s healthcare system, ultimately aiming to improve healthcare outcomes for all Floridians.