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Florida significantly reduces health care spending by requiring documentation from illegal immigrants

Since Ron DeSantis enacted a law requiring hospitals to ask for patients' immigration status a year ago, healthcare spending has dropped by 54%.

Ron DeSantis(Cordon Press)

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Florida has significantly reduced taxpayer spending on medical care for illegal immigrants since SB 1718 was implemented last year. The law requires hospitals to verify patients' immigration status (SB 1718) by checking their documentation. 

"Requiring certain hospitals to collect patient immigration status data information on admission or registration forms"SB 1718

Specifically, that expenditure has dropped 54%, as analyzed by POLITICO. This analysis was based on data provided by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration's Emergency Medical Assistance program and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

The percentage decline translates to a decrease in both state and federal Medicaid expenditures in Florida, which fell from $148.4 million in 2023 to approximately $67 million this year. In 2022, expenditures were $171.4 million.

A system to "prioritize" legal residents.

The law that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved in July last year does not hinder illegal immigrants from being able to be treated for all health services covered by hospitals.

For example, medical facilities are required to perform emergencies such as dialysis or childbirth -a service that covers about half of Medicaid spending- or treating trauma. However, Ron DeSantis' office issued a statement reported by POLITICO saying that priority is given to legal U.S. citizens.

"While the state’s health care system is designed to serve and prioritize legal United States citizens, those with medical necessities will still be treated by a hospital."Office of Ron DeSantis