Florida will reject Medicaid coverage for immigrants

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is doubling down on its opposition.

The Biden administration is making Medicaid available for nearly 580,000 people who came to the United States as children but can’t otherwise qualify for Medicaid because of their immigration status.

But Florida won’t be taking advantage of the option that was announced in April. In fact, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration is doubling down on its opposition.

DeSantis made clear at a Jacksonville news conference Wednesday he has no intention of tapping into the program. He made the comments after signing SB 1718, a sweeping immigration bill that requires private employers with 25 or more employees to use the E-Verify system for new employees and essentially bans Florida counties from issuing identification cards or other documents to individuals who do not provide proof of lawful presence in the United States.

The new law also aims to understand undocumented immigrants’ health care costs better because, as the Governor noted: “You show up to an emergency room, they treat you; it doesn’t matter if you are illegal or legal.”

According to DeSantis, Florida emergency rooms provided about $340 million in care to undocumented immigrants in the state fiscal year ending July 1, 2022.

“And taxpayers were on the hook for two-thirds of those costs,” DeSantis said. “The Biden administration is trying to increase those costs. They want to actually use Medicaid to cover illegal aliens, which we don’t support and won’t do in Florida. But that’s their vision in terms of what they want to do,” DeSantis said.

The Governor said he thinks the $340 million figure captures just “some” of the health care costs, saying, “We think that there’s more.”

To that end, SB 1718 requires hospitals that receive Medicaid funding to ask patients whether they are United States citizens, lawfully present in the United States, or unlawfully present in the United States.

The new law requires hospitals to submit quarterly reports to the state detailing the number of emergency department visits or admissions and how the patients responded to the question.

“The public deserves an honest accounting of how much this is costing us in terms of services, and health care is probably No. 1,” he said.

The health care provision was one of the more controversial elements of the immigration bill as opponents contended that it would dissuade undocumented immigrants from seeking health care.

Drew Wilson

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.


  • Impeach Biden

    May 10, 2023 at 6:20 pm

    Stop the flow of illegals into this country. Thanks for stepping up Governor DeSantis. Finally someone with leadership not a bumbling teleprompter reading idiot. Oh and where is Giggles with her Southern Border plan?

    • Fat Cammack

      May 10, 2023 at 6:30 pm

      All you need to learn a good lesson about the GOP shills for the billionaires..is a bare, unwashed, unwiped sardine face sit by me babydoll. Teach you good lesson.💋

    • PeterH

      May 10, 2023 at 6:32 pm

      You must be new to the Constitution and how government works!

      Congress writes legislation and the executive branch enforces what Congress has made into law. THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH HAS ZERO AUTHORITY TO WRITE LAW.

      Isn’t it an interesting FACT that DeSantis spent years in Congress and never once wrote legislation to change the existing laws that have been on the books for decades. Actually…. We have a dozen or more Republican Florida House members whose job is to create strong border control laws ….. and two do-nothing Republican Senators……Today’s Republicans are terrific whiners ….. but are more interested in their absurd unconstitutional cultural wars.

  • Michael K

    May 10, 2023 at 8:16 pm

    Cruelty is always the point – and more death.

  • richard bruce

    May 10, 2023 at 8:41 pm

    Those who broke USA laws to illegally enter the country and break more laws living here create their own cruelty. No against emergency medical treatment. But, as soon as they can travel, send them home. How many times does a stranger get to empty your wallet before you swat it away.?

    • Michael K

      May 11, 2023 at 12:31 pm

      These are human beings who have broken no laws, people who were born here and have lived in the US for their entire lives. Only a cruel and heartless person – and certainly someone not following so-called “Christian” values – would deny medical care to anyone in need, simply to score political cheap points. He’d rather see young people die than help Dreamers on a path to citizenship.

      • James L Wilson

        May 11, 2023 at 3:54 pm

        They were not born here. They were brought here illegally as minors. They are citizens of their country of birth. If they are from one of the proudly socialist countries around the world they can return there and get free medical coverage. We should be willing to pay to get them home to their free coverage.

      • Missy

        May 13, 2023 at 2:25 am

        Not “denying care”. He’s denying them, who have no legal rights here, from receiving TAXPAYER-FUNDING medical care.

        These people can always go to a doctor and pat out of pocket.

Comments are closed.


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