Medicaid, Teacher Boost Coming to Florida
Aug 9, 2010 -
Thousands of Florida teachers will keep their jobs, and Florida's struggling budget will receive a helpful shot in the arm tomorrow when the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass legislation that will save thousands of education jobs and avoid more drastic layoffs and cuts. Congresswoman Kathy Castor has been championing the job-saving effort for many months. The Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act provides a vital lifeline to states to avoid draconian layoffs.
“As students prepare to return to the classroom, parents and educators can rest a bit easier that teachers will not be laid off due to state budget cuts,” Castor said. “We will be saving jobs in education and making sure our children receive the education and vital health services they depend upon.”
Florida will receive approximately $555 million to support an estimated 9,200 education jobs. In Castor’s Congressional District 11, which includes parts of Hillsborough, Pinellas and Manatee counties, schools will receive approximately $36 million. That translates into roughly 580 saved education jobs in our elementary, middle and high schools.
The money must be used to create and save jobs. It cannot be used for general administrative expenses.
“With this $555 million boost to our schools and students, we will make sure education professionals stay in the classrooms, teaching our students, ensuring that our children get the finest quality education,” Castor said. “We are saving jobs that truly matter and putting our children and educators first.”
The Medicaid component of the legislation will help millions in our state. Medicaid serves about 2.7 million Floridians. The federal Medicaid match, known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage, or FMAP, is particularly important during an economic downturn when the state struggles to balance its budget.
Florida is expected to receive just under $800 million. That’s in addition to $4.3 billion Castor previously secured for Florida under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Health care investments create and preserve jobs in the state while ensuring that families receive affordable medical care.
“In Florida, the $4.3 billion increase in federal Medicaid matching funds was critical to the state’s ability to provide care under Medicaid to approximately 2.7 million residents, nearly half of whom are children, followed by seniors and pregnant women,” Castor said. “I am pleased we are able to save jobs and provide this lifeline to our neighbors.”
The bill is completely paid for, in part by closing tax loopholes that encourage businesses to ship jobs overseas. Closing these loopholes will help keep jobs in America, boosting our economy. The legislation is projected to cut the deficit by $1.4 billion throughout the next 10 years.