Florida Senate Unanimously Approves $800 Million Live Healthy Act to Address Medical Workforce and Health Care Access

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Senate has unanimously approved an approximately $800 million package aimed at strengthening the state’s medical workforce and improving public access to healthcare. The bill, known as the Live Healthy Act, is a priority for Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and now awaits consideration in the Florida House. If approved there, the measure will go to Gov. Ron DeSantis for final approval.

The Live Healthy Act includes provisions to recruit and retain more medical staff in Florida, including funneling millions of dollars into state medical schools and increasing residency slots at universities. The bill also aims to provide greater loan repayment options to healthcare professionals.

In a surprising move, lawmakers proposed and adopted an amendment to rename a portion of the bill after Passidomo’s late father, Dr. Alfonso Cinotti, who passed away at the age of 100 last year. The gesture brought tears to Passidomo as she expressed how her father’s legacy will live on in the bill.

However, the Live Healthy Act does not include an expansion of Medicaid, which has disappointed Florida Democrats. Instead, the bill creates a cost-free healthcare screening program and pioneers a grant program that focuses on providing no and low-cost treatment for the uninsured, particularly in rural areas where approximately 11% of Floridians are uninsured, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The 232-page proposal also includes provisions to divert non-emergency patients away from emergency rooms and towards clinics and urgent care establishments. It also establishes a “Health Care Innovation Council” to explore new medical strategies.

The push to bolster Florida’s medical ranks comes as the state experiences significant population growth, with more than 1,000 people estimated to be moving to Florida each day. The plan also aims to reduce barriers for foreign-trained doctors and other healthcare personnel to practice in Florida, as Passidomo emphasized the current shortage of healthcare personnel in the state.