Florida lawmakers began formal budget negotiations today. Bolstered by federal stimulus money and growing sales tax revenues, the Senate and House have pitched record spending plans. For fiscal year 2022-23, the Senate has proposed $108.6 billion while the House has proposed $105.3 billion.
With the 60-day legislative session set to end on March 11, subject-area conference committees (e.g., health care, education, law enforcement, etc.) are expected to complete negotiations later this week. Any unresolved issues between the conference committees will then go to Senate Appropriations Chair Kelli Stargel (R-Lakeland) and House Appropriations Chair Jay Trumbull (R-Panama City).
As a result of today’s budget meeting, legislators approved the Senate proposal for $273.6 million in increases to Medicaid reimbursement rates, raising employee wages to at least $15 an hour. The House had proposed $13 an hour. Earlier this year, Governor Ron DeSantis requested $226.5 million in increases to Medicaid provider rates in his $99.7 billion Freedom First budget.
Last session, HCAF played a key role in lawmakers’ decision to commission an actuarial report on the impact of the minimum wage hike on state spending. The final report was then presented to lawmakers this session. Assuming that the legislature’s increase in Medicaid reimbursement rates endures throughout the budget negotiation process, details regarding how funds will be allocated and distributed remain somewhat vague. However, HCAF is actively working with the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to ensure that additional Medicaid funds flow through the health plans to cover the minimum wage increase and address the ongoing workforce shortage.
We will provide more updates as budget negotiations continue, and you can track Tallahassee with our real-time legislation tracking tool by clicking here.