Proposed health care cuts in Florida will have a ripple effect felt by everyone in the state. Patients could face longer wait times in emergency rooms, where fewer caregivers may be available to treat them. Hospitals could be forced to postpone the purchase of new equipment or the addition of life-saving technology. Access to care may be hindered.
Budget cuts will put thousands of jobs at risk in a state that already ranks above the national average in unemployment. Nearly 40,000 jobs will be in jeopardy as a result of the Governor’s proposal to slash funding for the Medicaid program. These are jobs we can hardly afford to lose.
Lack of funding will have other negative side effects. Businesses that support hospitals such as medical labs, outpatient facilities or rehabilitation centers also would suffer. According to a Florida Hospital Association survey, some hospitals already have eliminated programs involving school nurses and mid-wives and have closed chemotherapy and primary care clinics.
State cutbacks will merely shift more costs onto hard-working Florida families who have private insurance. And with the average family deductible jumping nearly 50 percent in the past five years, this hidden tax means even more money coming out of your pocket.
Slashing programs that serve our children, frail elders, cancer victims and transplant patients will just make matters worse. Without access to routine medical care, their conditions will worsen and taxpayers will end up footing an even bigger bill for costly emergency visits and lengthy hospital stays. Short-sighted budget cuts hurt everyone. It won’t just be the poor, disabled, children and elderly who are hurt. As more and more hospitals and emergency rooms become overburdened, services barriers could severely compromise access to care to all patients.
We urge you to tell the Florida Legislature that while real choices need to be made to help our state at this critical time, those choice should not overwhelmingly impact our patients and those who care for them—because Health Care Cuts Don’t Heal.