Florida Medicaid spending on migrants plummets after DeSantis law: Report

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Florida Medicaid spending on migrants plummets after DeSantis law: Report

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The amount of Medicaid money Florida has paid out to undocumented migrants has been cut by over half after a new law signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Florida’s Emergency Medical Assistance program for undocumented immigrants has had a 54% reduction in spending this year, falling from $148.4 million to $67 million with two months to go in the fiscal year, according to a report from Politico.

The dramatic drop comes after DeSantis signed a law last year that directed hospitals that accept Medicaid to ask patients about their immigration status, the report notes, though the law does not require migrants to provide the hospitals with an answer.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (Election 2024 DeSantis)

While federal law does ban undocumented migrants from being eligible for Medicaid, it provides a carveout that requires states to offer limited coverage to migrants facing a medical emergency.

Immigrant advocacy groups raised fears the new law would scare away migrants from seeking emergency medical attention in the state, the report notes, though the DeSantis administration has touted the results as a sign his policies are working.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks to Iowa voters. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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The law has been part of the Republican governor’s overall crackdown on illegal immigration, moves he claims have been made necessary by the Biden administration’s policies at the southern border. 

President Joe Biden walks along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border

President Biden walks along a stretch of the U.S.-Mexico border in El Paso, Texas, Jan. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

Critics of the law have claimed that there is no evidence it is responsible for the drop in spending, citing an exodus of migrants from the state and data that shows spending on migrant emergency care had been decreasing since FY 2022. That year, the state spent $171.4 million, a number that dropped to $148.4 million in FY 2023.

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The state approved over 147,000 emergency authorizations in FY 2022, dropping to 116,000 in 2023. With two months to go before the end of FY 2024, the station has only made 99,000 similar authorizations.

DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond to a Fox News Digital request for comment.

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