Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is leaving open the possibility that his chamber will consider an expansion of health care coverage for low-income Floridians.
“Intriguing" was the word Gardiner used on Wednesday for a plan from business and hospital leaders that would accept billions of dollars under the federal Affordable Care Act and provide coverage through private insurers. The plan, called "A Healthy Florida Works," was introduced last week.
Arkansas became the first Southern state to expand its Medicaid program in a way that many Republicans found acceptable. The state bought private insurance for low-income people instead of adding them to the rolls of the Medicaid system, which GOP lawmakers considered bloated and inefficient.
Now Arkansas could be on the brink of another distinction: becoming the first to abandon its Medicaid expansion after giving coverage to thousands of people.
Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:45 pm
Following the lead of other Republican governors, Tennessee's Gov. Bill Haslam is moving to expand Medicaid in his state, using federal funds from the Affordable Care Act. Haslam announced the plan Monday morning; it'll be debated by the legislature next month.
From Nashville, Bobby Allyn of member station WPLN reports:
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 4:15 pm
A coalition of businesses groups, local officials and healthcare industry representatives has rolled out a plan to insure nearly one million low-income Floridians. But they’re not calling it a Medicaid Expansion.
More than 800,ooo Floridians are in health insurance limbo. They fall into what’s called the Medicaid coverage gap. Reed Mahoney of Tallahassee, is among them.
If Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has a chance, she wants to talk with Florida leaders about expanding Medicaid in Florida.
Burwell was at Florida Hospital in Orlando Tuesday promoting open enrollment on the federal HealthCare.gov insurance exchange.
She said in an interview with Health News Florida that she’s trying to understand why Florida’s legislature has decided to not expand the government health coverage for the poor. She said she’s open to talking about Medicaid expansion with legislative leaders and Governor Rick Scott.
When the Affordable Care Act’s federal marketplace opened last year, Beth and Doug Warner of St. Petersburg asked a navigator to enroll them. But they discovered their income wasn’t high enough to get a subsidy.
Without one, Doug Warner said, the policy for the couple would cost $700 a month. “Basically the choice was, ‘Keep the roof over your head or buy healthcare.'”
It’s one of the great ironies of the health overhaul. Floridians most in need of health insurance -- adults below the poverty line -- are often blocked from coverage the Affordable Care Act provides.
Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 5:41 pm
A new coalition combining local business and health care groups is pushing a plan to insure more than a million Floridians who currently fall in the so-called Medicaid coverage gap.
More than a million Floridians make too much money to qualify for Medicaid under the state’s current income limits, but too little to qualify for insurance subsidies in the federally-run insurance exchange. The Florida legislature has twice rejected plans to expand Medicaid to those people.
A report released Monday by Florida Legal Services, a non-profit legal advocate for the poor, says hospitals that treat large numbers of patients without health insurance stand to lose billions because of the Florida Legislature’s refusal to expand Medicaid, the Miami Herald reports.
With sign-up season launching this weekend, officials sharply dialed down expectations Monday for the second year of President Barack Obama’s health insurance law.
Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell said she’s aiming to have 9.1 million paying customers enrolled in 2015 for subsidized private coverage through HealthCare.gov and state insurance markets.
That’s more than now, but well below the 13 million that the Congressional Budget Office had projected.
Tuesday’s re-election of Republican governors in closely contested races in Florida, Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas dims the chances of Medicaid expansion in those states.
Advocates hoping for Democratic victories in those states were disappointed by the outcomes, but Alaska, which also has a Republican incumbent, remains in play as an independent challenger holds a narrow lead going into a count of absentee ballots.
Democratic candidate Judithanne McLauchlan, who was inspired to run for Florida Senate District 22 against incumbent Republican Jeff Brandes because he was the only vote in the Senate against an alternative to Medicaid expansion, lost 57 percent to 43 percent.
During the 2013 Legislative session, Brandes was the lone vote against state Sen. Joe Negron’s alternative to Medicaid expansion. The plan, which would have drawn down $51 billion in federal funding over 10 years under the Affordable Care Act, was ultimately defeated by the Republican-controlled House.
The University of Kentucky’s Chandler Hospital has seen its inpatient numbers rise by 5 percent and its outpatient numbers rise by 10 percent since July. But its number of uninsured patients has dropped, from about 9 percent to 2.5 percent.
Prior to this year, says Chandler’s Dr. Michael Karpf, “we were getting paid 10 cents on the dollar” serving low-income patients. “Now we are getting 40 cents on the dollar, so the cost of care for these people isn’t totally covered, but there is a lot more reimbursement. It means we are having very strong bottom lines in the hospital.”
Charlie Crist has been hitting current Gov. Rick Scott hard on his inability to expand Medicaid throughout the election season. During Tuesday's debate, Scott fired back at Crist, asking him why he didn't expand Medicaid in 2010, his final year as governor and the year the Affordable Care Act passed.
Left to Right: Al Ruechel (Bay News 9), Ybeth Bruzual (News 13) and Adam Smith (Tampa Bay Times) moderate the only debate among the three candidates for Florida Attorney General: Pam Bondi (incumbent, Republican), George Sheldon (Democrat) and Bill Wohlsifer (Libertarian).
If former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist gets his old job back, he promises to expand Medicaid to roughly 1 million low-income residents by calling a special session of the Legislature or through an executive order. If Gov. Rick Scott is re-elected, the decision will be once again left to the Legislature with little meddling from him.
Democratic candidates were the only ones to show at a legislative forum organized by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative. And each one said Florida needs to take federal funding to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The participants included Lorena Grizzle (D) – House District 66 candidate; Steve Sarnoff (D) – House District 67 candidate; Scott Orsini (D) - House District 69 candidate; and Judithanne McLauchlan (D) – Senate District 22 candidate.
Florida’s gubernatorial candidates say they support Medicaid expansion, but it’s hard to know that on the campaign trail, according to the News Service of Florida. Democrat Charlie Crist is pushing for a special session to consider expansion of the state health care program for the poor. Republican Gov. Rick Scott, who backed expansion in 2013, has remained fairly quiet on the issues.
Florida looks to lose more federal money set aside for Medicaid than any state that has opted out of expanding the health care program for the poor, says a new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute.
Expanding Medicaid to an additional 1 million Floridians under President Barack Obama's new health law is turning into one of the biggest issues of this year's gubernatorial race.
Former Gov. Charlie Crist brings up the topic on most campaign stops and says one of the first things he'll do if elected is call a special session to expand Medicaid. His opponent, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, seems to be waning in his support.
Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist told the Miami Herald editorial board that he wants a special session to try and convince lawmakers to expand state-run health care coverage for low-income residents.
The Florida Medical Association surprised many this week when word came that its House of Delegates embraced a resolution calling for the legislature to expand Medicaid, the state-run program that's supposed to cover low-income people.
The money to do so, an estimated $51 billion over 10 years, had already been set aside by the federal government to begin in January this year, but the state House of Representatives refused to take it. The FMA delegates want the Legislature to change its position.
The Florida Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion to cover uninsured low-income adults at FMA's annual meeting on Sunday, according to doctors who were there.
(Editor's note: This story has been updated with the statement from FMA.)
The White House will release a state-by-state report Wednesday which estimates that a Medicaid expansion in Florida would generate 63,800 jobs from 2014-2017. Most of the jobs would be in health care, while providing health care to 848,000 people, according to the Tampa Bay Times.