SENATE MAY ELIMINATE MEDICALLY NEEDY PROGRAM--Andrew Stelzer04/12/04
FloridaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s State legislators returned to work today for the final three-week stretch of their regular session with a lot of work still ahead of them. Just the same, things appear set to end on time. The House and Senate passed budgets before leaving for last week's break for the Passover and Easter holidays. But they still have to negotiate spending on health care, education, tax cuts and other issues. Lawmakers knocked off one big issue early in the 60-day session. They eliminated the waiting list for KidCare, which is the popular state-subsidized health insurance program for children. With an election just seven months away, lawmakers are hoping for a tranquil session that ends on time. That would be a change from last year, when one special session spilled into another. But there are still some contentious issues could snare the process in the final few weeks. One of the items which still may be cut out of the states budget is the medically needy problem. Senator Ron Klien was the only member of the Senate to vote against the budget; he did so because of proposed cuts to the medically needy program,, along with cuts to other healthcare needs.
Senator Mandy Dawson has filed several bills which protect the medically needy program, but she was unavailable to comment on these bills.
In the next two weeks, both the Senate and the House will be conferencing, negotiating what will get included in the final Florida State budget. To contact your legislator, go to www.leg.state.fl.us