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For Weatherford, Another Oops on Medicaid

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford goofed in a major address the opening day of the Legislature, when he denied that Medicaid had covered his family’s medical bills for his little brother’s fatal illness. After reporters pointed out the error, he backtracked.  

But Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, continues to maintain that Florida shouldn’t accept federal funds to expand Medicaid because most of those who would benefit are “able-bodied” and “childless adults,” which implies that they are less in need of government help. He uses the figure of 85 percent.

PolitiFact’s fact-checkers put that to the test and found that Weatherford is, again, basing his policy stance on misinformation.  

Weatherford’s ideological opposition to accepting federal money for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act has become the largest remaining obstacle in Florida, which stands to get an estimated $51 billion over 10 years in federal funds to insure about 1 million of the state’s low-income adults.

As Health News Florida has reported, federal health officials have expressed willingness to consider the Florida Senate’s plan, which would use federal money and the Healthy Kids Corp. to match up the newly covered with a private plan. And Florida is not alone in looking at that model, as the New York Times reported last weekend.  


Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.