Opinion
10:42 am
Thu June 19, 2014

93 Groups: We Want Health-Care Expansion

Ninety-three organizations in the state that are working in coalition under the title Health Care for Florida Now are asking Floridians to sign a petition calling for the state to accept federal funds to expand coverage to low-income adults who are in the so-called "Coverage Gap."

In 2013 the Florida House voted not to accept the $51 billion over 10 years in federal funds available for the program under the Affordable Care Act even though the Senate approved it and Gov. Rick Scott said he would sign it.

In 2014's session, the debate never occurred.

But most of the money is still available if Florida's legislature had a change of heart, the coalition says.

The petition says:

We, the undersigned, urge the Florida Legislature to approve Healthcare Expansion to most Floridians with incomes up to 138% of the poverty level, as provided in the Affordable Care Act.

Being able to see a family doctor should not be prohibited because of politics. It is a basic need. It is a human right. It is a better alternative than the emergency room.

There is no valid argument against extending Medicaid.  The federal government will pay 100% of the cost of Healthcare expansion for the first three years, while the state will never be required to pay more than 10% of that cost in any year.  Expansion will cost the state an estimated $2.1 billion over the next 10 years, increasing the state’s share of the Medicaid budget by only 2%, while drawing down $20.3 billion in federal funds.

Most of those who will finally become insured are those just above the current Medicaid threshold because they are working but still cannot afford private insurance.  This included individuals earning up to $15,400 and families of three earning up to $26,300.

This means at least one million more uninsured Floridians will get coverage in the next 6 years. More insured Floridians translates to more jobs, less uncompensated care, and a healthier society.

Here is the link to the petition and list of supporting organizations