Nearly halfway through the session, the Senate and House are divided on budget priorities. In a nutshell, the House wants huge tax cuts, the Senate wants to continue to fund necessary programs. Health care funding is the biggest stumbling block.
The Senate is proposing to draw down $2.8 billion to pay for health care coverage to 800,000 Floridians who are currently not eligible for the state’s Medicaid program. The Senate also has crafted a proposal aimed at bringing in additional federal money for hospitals that treat the poor and uninsured.
Meanwhile, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli continues to say that the House is not interested in expanding Medicaid under any circumstances.
Earlier, the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee voted to remove all Low Income Pool (LIP) funding from the proposed state budget, which would cripple several of the state’s busiest hospitals serving the poorest communities. We’re keeping an eye on this one, as it would affect Jackson.
Education – This week the House pushed through a bill that would require school districts to share construction funding with charter schools.
Civil Rights – Democrats are pushing various voting rights reforms, but those bills are unlikely to make it through the Republican-dominated Legislature. And a bad bill discriminating against transgender people seems to be dying as the session winds down.