Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present taxpayers with a guide to the FY2022-23 state budget, which went into effect July 1, 2022. The report includes all appropriations for the new fiscal year— the General Appropriations Act (GAA), “back-of-bill” spending, and general bills—net of the Governor’s vetoes.
The 2022 legislative session is over, even if it ran a little long. Florida TaxWatch and the state’s taxpayers had a number of successes. Many bills and budget issues supported by our research and recommendations passed. Our research and input that raised concerns with legislation, helped to improve them or fail passage, including changes to the tax audit system and a very costly approach to improving data privacy
One of the fundamental responsibilities of government is to ensure the safety and welfare of those in its care. This includes our most vulnerable populations, such as children and families.
Similar to demographic trends across the U.S., Florida will encounter a rapid increase in the number of elderly residents requiring long-term care and services. Florida’s 65 and older population is anticipated to grow by 52.1 percent over the next two decades from 4.4 to 6.7 million elderly residents. A variety of continuum of care options exists to accommodate the impending rise in long-term healthcare utilization, ranging from nursing homes to home and community-based settings. Not only do these options differ in their public costs and quality outcomes, but the COVID-19 pandemic has spotlighted the importance of physical risk and exposure to infection when considering what long-term settings exist. Due to the projected growth in Florida’s elderly population over the coming decades, it will be critical to expand resources across the state’s entire continuum of care.
With more than 8,400 miles of coastline and a flat, low-lying coastal topography, Florida is especially vulnerable to the effects of sea level rise. Tens of thousands of Florida homes and businesses are at increased risk from sea level rise. Much of Florida’s critical infrastructure is at low elevations, designed and built with little consideration of future sea level rise. The physical effect of changing climate translates into real economic impacts.
Medicaid is a joint federal-state health insurance program that provides medical coverage to more than four million low-income Floridians. Administered by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, Medicaid is jointly funded through a federal cost-sharing agreement. During fiscal year 2020-21, Florida’s appropriated budget for Medicaid is $29.7 billion.
Even as the economic recovery begins to take form in Florida, the challenges confronting the state’s Medicaid system will remain a forefront issue. For this reason, it is important to understand how Florida’s Medicaid program has fared during the public health emergency and what economic challenges lie ahead as the state goes forward in recovery.
Telehealth is being practiced in Florida every day pursuant to the standards of practice for telehealth adopted by the Board of Medicine and the Board of Osteopathic Medicine. These standards require a Florida license and provide that the standards of care shall remain the same regardless of whether healthcare services are provided in person or by telehealth. There is no shortage of licensed physicians willing to provide telehealth in Florida. Florida statute 456.47, enacted in 2019, is the governing language for the practice of telehealth in Florida. Currently, health insurance companies are not required to pay or reimburse telehealth services, they do so on a voluntary basis pursuant to Florida statutes
Florida TaxWatch has undertaken an independent review to assess the impacts of certain key changes proposed by MFAR that would have a far-reaching and dramatic impact on Florida’s Medicaid program, Florida’s safety-net providers, the 3.8 million Medicaid-eligible Floridians, and Florida taxpayers. Florida TaxWatch is pleased to present this summary report and its recommendations, and we look forward to a continued discussion with Florida lawmakers and policymakers.
As of 2010, there were 2.5 million Floridians in their 50s, 2.1 million Floridians in their 60s, 1.4 million Floridians in their 70s and almost 1 million Floridians in their 80s and above. There is every reason to believe that these numbers will continue to rise. Recent estimates predict that Florida’s 65 and older population will represent 24.1 percent of Florida’s overall population by the year 2030. As Florida’s population continues to age, the elderly population will require vastly different and more costly forms of health care, such as long-term care for chronic conditions, more frequent examinations and follow-ups, and services and care for cognitive and mental impairments.