Report: Medicaid Migrant Spending in Florida Plummets Following Crackdown by DeSantis on Illegals

Medicaid spending by Florida on migrants has plummeted by 54% so far this year following GOP Governor Ron DeSantis’ bid to push back against illegal immigration.

Some observers worry that DeSantis’ move to require people to reveal their immigration status at hospitals discourages them from seeking urgent care, driving down Medicaid spending.

According to Politico’s data, in the last fiscal year before the Florida law, $148.4 million in federal and state Medicaid funds helped cover emergency care for illegal immigrants in Florida.

However, as of May 3, with only two months remaining in the fiscal year, only $67 million has been spent on the program.

DeSantis signed Senate 1718 last year, which mandated hospitals ask patients about their citizenship status. 

Hospitals were additionally required to apprise the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration about the breakdown of citizenship among those who received treatment.

The legislation was part of the bill that implemented a broader crackdown on illegal immigration into Florida, including mandating immigration status verification with employers who employ 25 or more employees.

DeSantis signed the legislation before the kickoff of his campaign

DeSantis signed the law during a frenzy of legislation just before the kickoff of his unsuccessful GOP presidential campaign. 

Medicaid is a program that helps to provide health care for those in need financially. It receives a combination of federal and state funding. The program is distinct from Medicare, which services elderly individuals.

In Florida, spending on emergency coverage for immigrants from Medicaid had been on the decline before the signing of 1718 but wasn’t anywhere near the current drop. 

Florida’s budget for the next fiscal year allocates $557,882 to help strengthen AHCA’s program to observe the costs spent on healthcare for illegal immigrants.

In March, AHCA released a report that estimated hospitals had to cover around $566 million worth of healthcare payments in the last half of 2023 for illegal migrants.

According to a Politico report, hospitals in Florida are allowed to seek emergency Medicaid money for migrants from the state’s Department of Children and Families.

Most of the immigrants tend to be individuals in need of life-saving treatments and pregnant women.

However, those DCF authorizations have also plummeted, from 147,000 in the 2022 fiscal year to 116,000 in 2023, and now 99,000 by April 30, reported Politico.