There’s money for ‘Casey DeSantis’ cancer research in latest budget offer
Casey DeSantis announces a major appointment to help the state's mental health response.

casey desantis
'There is a warrior that is standing up for cancer treatment in Florida and her name is Casey DeSantis.'

A bid by First Lady Casey DeSantis and Gov. Ron DeSantis to boost spending on cancer research is on the verge of getting approved by House and Senate budget negotiators.

But there’s a slight catch.

Sen. Aaron Bean, the head health care budget writer in the Senate, told his House counterparts on Wednesday that the decision to bump funding on research to $100 million — a $37 million increase over this year — is contingent on naming the overall fund after Casey DeSantis.

Casey DeSantis was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and she wrapped up chemotherapy in January.

“There is a warrior that is standing up for cancer treatment in Florida and her name is Casey DeSantis,” Bean said.

The decision by House and Senate budget negotiators to match the Governor’s request on cancer research means DeSantis is getting one of his major budget priorities funded even as several other top recommendations remain in question with just days left to go.

The Senate also included a new budget request in their latest offer: $3.8 million for a “human milk Medicaid pilot project.”

“We call this liquid gold,” Bean said. “We have seen the value of human breast milk.”

The Senate decision to include funding comes a day after the Florida Senate unanimously passed a bill by Sen. Lauren Book that allows the state Medicaid program to pay for human milk donor bank services.

The Senate offer also included money for several projects tied to the fatherhood initiative being pushed by House Speaker Chris Sprowls and House legislators, although the totals still do not line up with the House. The House, for example, set aside $23.3 million in grants to encourage fatherhood and parental support. The latest Senate offer has $14.2 million for the program.

The Senate also included a new line item of $85 million for stand-alone children’s hospitals that comes amid the likely elimination of the critical care fund — a line of extra money that was being provided to hospitals that treat Medicaid patients.

House and Senate conference committees have until Thursday to hash out differences in their rival spending plans. The Senate offer made Wednesday puts overall spending in health care at $48.5 billion. That compares to $47.8 billion that the House made in its offer the day before. Rep. Bryan Ávila told reporters he did not spend all the money allocated to health care budget negotiators in order to remain flexible as legislators head to the finish line.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


2 comments

  • Lol

    March 3, 2022 at 2:08 am

    I bet she didn’t even have it lol

    • Maven

      March 10, 2022 at 9:50 pm

      I will give her the benefit of the doubt, but they are milking this way too much. Any time he gets criticized for making a fool of himself? Let’s either use her cancer as an excuse or make updates about her health to deflect. And I bet this story gets trotted out a million times for his presidential campaign so they can position her as this tough but sympathetic First Lady material.

Comments are closed.


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