Even though Florida’s Legislature turned down federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving billions of federal dollars on the table, the state's health insurance program for the poor continues to grow.
State Sen. Joe Negron, R-Negron, said he doesn’t expect there to be any movement on the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming session, the Florida Current reports. Negron, who chairs the Senate Appropriations committee, tried last session to pass a private-sector version of Medicaid expansion that accepted federal money to cover the low-income uninsured.
Consumer groups, hospitals and insurers are clamoring for Florida to take the $51 billion in federal funds that have been offered to the state over the next decade to provide health coverage to the working poor. But those who are tuned in politically -- even those who desperately want it to happen -- say it’s very unlikely in 2014.
From one end of Florida to the other, calls for Florida House leaders to accept $51 billion in Affordable Care Act funds to expand Medicaid to cover the state's low-income uninsured were renewed on Wednesday. Even Gov. Scott started flirting with Obamacare again. But the man who said no to the money before -- House Speaker Will Weatherford -- is still saying no.
State Rep. Mark Pafford, the incoming leader of Florida House Democrats, says he will continue to press the issue of Medicaid expansion during the upcoming legislative session, the Florida Current reports. Republicans in the Florida House blocked Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act during the 2013 session.
Columnist Wayne Ezell of the Florida Times-Union excoriates the Florida House Speaker for placing politics -- opposition to anything President Obama supports -- above the health and safety of hundreds of thousands of the poorest Floridians.
President Obama, who is coming to Miami late today for fundraising, publicly apologized Thursday for over-promising on the Affordable Care Act in the past. He had assured Americans they wouldn’t lose their health insurance policies -- true for most people, but it turned out to be wrong for 5 to 8 percent of the population, those who buy plans in the individual market.
A majority of physicians who responded to a Florida Medical Association survey this month said they support expanding the Medicaid program to cover more indigent and working-poor adults, FMA reported Tuesday.
But that's not the group's number-one goal for the coming legislative session, so it's unclear whether FMA will lobby for it.
Months after Florida House Republican leaders rejected federal money to expand health coverage for the low-income uninsured, a state agency will ask them to request money under a different Medicaid bucket to give to hospitals for charity care.
This bucket, called the “Low Income Pool,” would be expanded from $1.4 billion a year to about $3 billion under the Agency for Health Care Administration’s proposal.
The strange result of the Florida House's decision not to expand Medicaid is that there are 763,890 Floridians whose incomes are too low to receive subsidized health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.
Pasco County is heavily Republican, judging by the party of almost all its officeholders and the fact that it went for Mitt Romney by 7 points. But in today's election a Democrat has at least a decent chance of winning the state House District 36 seat being vacated by Republican Mike Fasano.
Fasano was appointed as tax collector when the man who held that office died, leaving his seat up for grabs in a special election. (Editor's note: An incorrect office was listed in an earlier version.)
John Petrila, professor at University of South Florida's College of Public Health, writes in a column published by the Tampa Tribune that there is a very good reason why the Florida Chamber of Commerce and other groups are asking the Florida Legislature to accept the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and his GOP colleagues refused to accept billions of dollars in federal funds to cover 1 million poor uninsured adults in the state because the money was technically referred to as Medicaid expansion and they insisted Medicaid is "broken." They said it so often that it must have been on a talking-points memo.
But that refrain ignores some important facts, according to Gary Stein of Tampa, a retired public-health professional turned consumer advocate. He asks: If Medicaid is broken, then who broke it?
An unintended coverage gap in the Affordable Care Act will leave nearly 1 million low-income Floridians unable to obtain health insurance when the federal Marketplace opens Oct. 1, according to consumer group Families USA. The gap was created when the Florida House refused to accept federal funds for Medicaid expansion -- a decision left up to the states by the Supreme Court’s ruling in June 2012.
Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida did not.
More than 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida are spared from paying any penalty for not having health coverage under the Affordable Care Act as of Jan. 1, according to the rules issued this week by the Obama administration.
Senate President Don Gaetz sent a letter in June to federal health officials asking for flexibility in designing a plan to cover the working poor under the Affordable Care Act that would not involve Medicaid.
In a video posted by the Florida Times-Union, Florida Blue CEO Pat Geraghty explains why it would be good for Florida business if state officials accepted federal dollars for Medicaid expansion. Geraghty also described how Florida Blue is planning to serve more customers once Obamacare comes to Florida by creating partnerships and becoming a health care company, not just an insurance provider.
On Wednesday, White House officials pointed out several ways that Floridians will benefit from Obamacare as part of an effort to convince the Florida Legislature to accept federal money to expand Medicaid coverage, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Florida lawmakers are getting more criticism for not expanding Medicaid, this time from business groups, theTampa Bay Times reports. The coalitions warn that the refusal to expand health care will put a greater burden on companies and will ultimately be bad for business.
Voters in Manatee County voted down a half-cent sales tax to provide health care to the poor, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The tax would have bolstered the Health Care Trust Fund, which has paid for care for years but is expected to run out in 2015 .
Although two Republican representatives from Manatee County revived hope that Medicaid expansion, or something similar, may not be dead in Florida, there’s still no sign of a special session where they could work out a deal. As the Tampa Bay Times reports, there’s been no change since lawmakers ended the session without expanding healthcare to more low-income Floridians.
Earlier this year, both Govs. Jan Brewer of Arizona and Rick Scott of Florida surprised political pundits by coming out in support of Medicaid expansion. Both Republican governors had been fierce critics of the Affordable Care Act, but they said they favored the expansion because it would hurt the people of their state to turn down federal funds.
But the outcomes were quite different. Brewer muscled it through the Arizona Legislature, winning victory on Thursday after months of uncertainty and bare-knuckle politics.
On June 22, consumer-health groups across the nation will launch what they hope will be a massive education and enrollment campaign to find uninsured people and get them ready to sign up for health coverage.
Thanks to the Rand Corporation, there is now an unquestionably unbiased report that shows the devastating results of states' refusal to expand Medicaid, Florida health-policy consultant Paul Gionfriddo writes at his blog Our Health Policy Matters.
The Rand authors studied 14 states that refused to accept federal funds to expand Medicaid to those under 100 percent of the poverty level because those states are dominated by Republicans who don't like the Affordable Care Act.
Florida House Republicans blew it when they refused to accept $51 billion in federal funds to provide health coverage to more than 1 million of the lowest-income Floridians, and they're hearing about it from the business community now that they're back home, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune editorial board says.
While Florida lawmakers rejected Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act during the session, some Republicans in the House are now saying the issue could be possible before the end of the year, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. State Rep. Jim Boyd of Bradenton and state Rep. Greg Steube of Sarasota, told the Sarasota Tiger Bay Club on Thursday they think there’s a possibility the state could still draw down federal funds before Jan. 1.