Stew Lilker’s

Columbia County Observer

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Florida/National News


The “Great White" State of Florida Is Leading the Nation In Giving Those on Medicaid a Tough Time

sleeping baby with headline: Should health care in Florida be for everyone?
Photo via Pixabay | Columbia County Observer graphic

FLORIDA – Official data released yesterday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) show that Florida’s Medicaid redetermination process, in the month following the end of federal “continuous coverage” provisions, resulted in 249,427 Floridians being disenrolled from Medicaid.

COVID-19, A Public Health Emergency

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) in March 2020, which allowed continuous coverage for Medicaid members during the federal Public Health Emergency (PHE). On March 31, 2023, The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2023 (CAA) ended continuous Medicaid coverage related to the PHE. The CAA required every state to begin the Medicaid Redeterminations process by no later than April 1, 2023, and complete the redeterminations within 14 months. All renewals must be initiated by March 31, 2024.

Medicaid Redeterminations

A Medicaid redetermination is the review of an existing member's continued eligibility. Generally, Medicaid requires renewals every 12 months. However, with continuous coverage legislated during the PHE, no redeterminations have been made since 2020.

In Florida, eighty-two percent of those had their cases closed for procedural or “red tape” reasons, not necessarily because they were no longer eligible. The CMS data shows Florida leading the nation as it pushed more people off Medicaid in the first month of the redetermination process than any other state.

Getting DCF On The Phone: Good Luck

For the first time, official data backs up the stories shared by Floridians having difficulty getting through to the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to get help with their redeterminations.

In April, Florida was second to last in the percent of abandoned calls to state agencies, with calls to DCF abandoned by consumers 48% of the time. And Florida had the third longest wait times in the nation.   

Florida Policy Institute (FPI) Renews Its Call For a Pause In Medicaid Redeterminations

Florida Policy Institute’s CEO Sadaf Knight* reiterated calls for Florida to pause its Medicaid redetermination process and to opt into policy waivers offered by CMS to reduce the number of procedural denials.

Sadif KnightVia press release, CEO Knight said: “The CMS data confirms what health care advocacy groups and nonprofits have been saying for more than a year — that redetermining Medicaid for nearly 5 million Floridians would be a tremendous undertaking and would cause tremendous coverage loss for families if the state didn’t better prepare.”

"Back in May, when preliminary data surfaced showing that a large share of Floridians whose coverage was terminated had been disenrolled from Medicaid for procedural reasons, FPI and 51 other organizations called on state policymakers to pause the redetermination process.”

Urging the Governor & DCF to Act

Ms. Knight continued, “We are again urging the Department of Children and Families and Gov. DeSantis to temporarily pause Florida’s Medicaid ‘unwinding’ and conduct a thorough analysis of systemic problems, including the woefully inadequate phone system.”

“Florida is the only state in the nation to refuse the option of CMS policy waivers, which would allow the DCF to reduce red tape for families trying to navigate a labyrinth of confusing notices and hours-long call wait times. The state should opt into appropriate waivers, allowing it to reduce unnecessary procedural disenrollments, and preserve health care access for eligible, vulnerable children and families.”

Florida: Is it paying attention?

Florida, the third most populous state in the nation, has almost 22 million people. Only California (39 mil) and Texas (29.5 mil) have more people.

Of the most populous states, Texas is number one with the least amount of white folks on Medicaid at 9.8% and number three among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the American colony of Puerto Rico.

Florida is number two behind Texas, with 13.7% of white folks on Medicaid, and number 13 among all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

With the majority (86.3%) of Floridians on Medicaid not white, one cannot but wonder, considering the recent policies of Florida's elite ruling class, that Florida's Medicaid disenrollment policies are not only based on incompetence and intransigence.

The figures in this section can be found at the Kaiser Family Foundation.


When the Governor goes to sleep at night, he can sleep well knowing his family and children have health insurance.

The rest of Florida’s families should also be sleeping well at night with the same knowledge.

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