Gov. DeSantis vetoes $14.5M in health care spending

Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby says some of DeSantis vetoes hurt Brown and Black people.

Gov. Ron DeSantis did not make sweeping vetoes to health care projects as part of the nearly $511 million worth of spending items eliminated from the new state budget.

DeSantis vetoed $14.55 million directly from the health care portion of the new $116.5 billion budget. The largest single item axed from that section was nearly $3 million for a University of South Florida simulation modeling program designed to reduce opioid overdose. The modeling program was being pushed by St. Petersburg Sen. Darryl Rouson.

Many of the other vetoed items were directed at local projects.

Rep. Michele Rayner-Goolsby is a St. Petersburg Democrat who had two projects vetoed. DeSantis vetoed $1.15 million for the Well Center for Trauma Recovery Wellness and Healing Justice, which establishes a single point of contact for survivors of violent crimes and their families, and $180,960 to mitigate flooding problems at Operation PAR, a licensed residential substance use treatment program specifically catering to pregnant and parenting women.

“The decision to veto these projects not only disregards the needs of many Floridians but targets Black and Brown people, who are often more likely to experience violent crimes and substance use disorders. These cuts fail to acknowledge the long-term benefits and cost savings that such initiatives would have offered to our community,” she said in a prepared statement.

Rayner-Goolsby is one of DeSantis’ most vocal critics in the House. In her statement, she urged lawmakers “to reaffirm our commitment to providing comprehensive services and care to survivors of violent crimes and support pregnant and parenting women in their journey toward recovery.”

DeSantis also vetoed $20 million for USF Sarasota Manatee campus academic STEM nursing facility that was a priority for Bradenton Republicans Sen. Jim Boyd and Rep. Will Robinson.

The Governor also eliminated funding for projects at three private colleges associated with health care worker training.

The Governor’s decision to tread lightly on health care budget vetoes means Medicaid rate increases for many health care providers who participate in the health care safety net program.

“This budget funds a much-needed Medicaid rate increase for behavioral health services — the largest increase in decades — and a one-time spend of over $90 million towards community short-term housing and additional infrastructure expansions. These investments will have an immediate impact by increasing access to behavioral health care statewide,” Florida Behavioral Health Association President and CEO Melanie Brown Woofter said in a statement.

“The budget also enhances funds for Florida’s central receiving system, significantly strengthening and expanding the critical entry point for individuals and families experiencing a crisis, by giving them 24/7 immediate access to life-saving care.”

Lawmakers also earmarked $385 million to support prevention and treatment services to respond to the opioid epidemic. A large portion of this funding came from proceeds of Florida’s settlements with drug companies.

The new budget, which takes effect on July 1, also includes $2 million in recurring revenue for a dental student loan program and donated dental services. The dental loan program encourages dentists to practice in public health programs and serve low-income patients in designated rural and underserved areas.

“With this investment, Florida dentists can start helping thousands of patients in need this year through these two programs,” Florida Dental Association President Gerald Bird said.

The budget also includes increases in reimbursement rates to pediatric physicians and hospitals that treat the state’s low-income children. Some beneficiaries of that increase include Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, and Wolfson Children’s Hospital in Jacksonville. They issued a joint statement thanking the Legislature and Governor.

“This funding will make a significant impact in helping address the Medicaid shortfall in these hospitals and ensuring that all children can continue to access this critical, specialized pediatric treatment,” the statement noted.

The budget also includes increased funds to access Florida KidCare, the subsidized children’s health insurance program, and includes an increase in nursing home reimbursement rates. Legislators agreed to earmark $93 million to support quality advancements at facilities for certain facilities an additional $32 million for all nursing centers. legislators also agreed to increase the residents’ personal needs allowances from $130 per month to $160 per month.

“The very real challenges of our growing elder population cannot be pushed aside, and the Governor, Senate President Passidomo, and Speaker Renner deserve our thanks for recognizing this and providing funds to meet those challenges,” FHCA Chief Executive Officer said in a prepared statement.

DeSantis also hailed $190 million in cancer research funding, which includes $20 million in funding to establish the Florida Cancer Innovation Fund. The funding was the center of a tussle between the House and Senate and whether Mayo Clinic In Jacksonville should qualify for the funds.

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.


  • DeSantis follows Mussolini steps

    June 16, 2023 at 7:45 am

    DeSantis does not care about Floridians or the future of Florida. Ron DeSantis is only worried about his political career.. he is back by billionaires that one is steal from the Floridian people. He vetoes money to benefit Floridians, but then will spend millions of dollars transporting migrants from Texas to other states. He’s not concerned about Floridians and he’s turned Florida into the most unfree state. Only 30% of Floridians think DeSantis is doing a good job and most of them are the extreme right. There is evidence of corruption and abuse of power from DeSantis and he should resign immediately. There is some speculation that DeSantis will be facing criminal charges within the next year or so. Republicans should be ashamed that they can’t put forth a better candidate one that’s honest and one that’s there representing the people.

  • Disgusted

    June 16, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Brilliant move. Heaven forbid we focus on the opioid crisis n our state. Assume you are repositioning these funds for out of state travel and fuel for your jet to get there? Maybe even out of state vote buying? WTF . Yes YATA

  • Kim peterson

    June 16, 2023 at 12:33 pm

    Absolutely true this guy has an Authoritian agenda in Florida and wants to continue it to the rest of the country!

  • Earle Kirkwood

    June 16, 2023 at 1:37 pm

    Ron DeSantis is a mealy mouthed political hack who should never be president…

  • Arthur Geller

    June 16, 2023 at 4:23 pm

    DeSantis doesn’t care about Florida; his goal is the presidency. God help thevUSA

Comments are closed.


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