Nelson Seeks To Halt Looming Medicaid Cuts

Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson and Florida Representative Kathy Castor led a group of Florida lawmakers Thursday in calling on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to reject a State of Florida proposal to cut nearly $100 million from the state’s Medicaid program.

From the Senate floor, nelson said "I rise here today because the State of Florida has again proposed to harm thousands of seniors and folks with disabilities who rely on Medicaid for their health care."

Nelson’s remarks came just hours after he, Castor and 10 other members of Florida’s Congressional delegation sent a letter to the head of CMS urging the agency to reject the State of Florida’s request to allow it to stop providing three months of retroactive coverage for Florida’s Medicaid beneficiaries.

“This proposal will directly hurt Floridians with disabilities and seniors in nursing homes,” the lawmakers wrote. “If approved, this decision could jeopardize the financial security of at least 39,000 of the most vulnerable Floridians and countless providers who treat them.”

Under the existing Medicaid framework, Medicaid beneficiaries can get up to three months of retroactive coverage from the date they apply to enroll in the Medicaid program, as long as they were eligible for Medicaid when they received care. 

In March, the State of Florida proposed eliminating this policy of providing retroactive coverage ... a proposal Nelson, Castor and others are now urging the agency to reject.  

The federal lawmakers dismissed the state’s claim that the proposal was an attempt to “enhance fiscal predictability” of the state’s Medicaid program.

“If the state were serious about securing greater financial security,” the lawmakers wrote to CMS, “they should expand Medicaid and accept the $66 billion in federal funds that Floridians have already paid for with their tax dollars and provide health care to about 700,000 Floridians.”

In addition to Nelson and Castor, the letter was signed by Representatives Charlie Crist, Val Demings, Ted Deutch, Lois Frankel, Alcee Hastings, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Darren Soto, and Frederica Wilson.

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