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The Florida Legislature and Healthcare Access

Craig Moe

During this year’s state legislative session Florida lawmakers, by and large, continued to oppose expanding Medicaid with federal dollars through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  That leaves an estimated 800,000 Floridians in the ‘coverage gap’ meaning they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid coverage, but earn too little to qualify for subsidies through the ACA’s insurance marketplace.  Even so, state lawmakers tackled a range of issues impacting healthcare consumers including an expansion of the Florida KidCare program, allowing Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants to prescribe controlled substances, an increase in spending on mental health services and a revamp of mental healthcare in the state’s criminal justice system.  We’ll explore which bills passed, which didn’t and what they mean for access to healthcare in the sunshine state.


Pamela Baker, CEO of NAMI of Collier County (National Alliance on Mental Illness)

Laura Brennaman, Ph.D., RN, Policy & Research Director at Florida CHAIN (Community Health Action Information Network)