Report: No Medicaid Expansion Means Mental Health Patients Will Cost Fla. $1.2 Million

Jun 4, 2013

A new study concludes, Florida taxpayers will be footing the bill for mentally ill patients after the Legislature rejected Medicaid expansion under the Federal healthcare reform law. Medicaid expansion would have covered treatment for Floridians living with mental illness.

Tens of millions of federal Medicaid dollars would have covered Floridians, a move Gov. Scott supported but the Legislature rejected this year.

Judy Evans, Florida director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said, hundreds of thousands of uninsured Floridians have mental illnesses.

"People that suffer depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, the only way they can get treated is to walk into a hospital and get the treatment," she said.

The alliance’s report shows those uninsured emergency room visits will cost taxpayers $1.2 million over the next decade.

Evans said, mental health advocates are hoping Scott will call a special legislative session to expand coverage.