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What Could State Do With $470M?

State Democrats have calculated that the state could conservatively save $470 million of what it will otherwise spend next year if it accepted federal funds for Medicaid expansion, even after paying to cover the hundreds of thousands of low-income uninsured.

And they already have a plan on how to spend it, the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Among the things Democrats say the money could be used for are Department of Juvenile Justice prevention programs, new HVAC units in state schools and a 2 percent raise for teachers.

However, Gov. Rick Scott, who said he supported expansion in 2013, is remaining mum about Medicaid expansion this year, focusing on tax cuts and jobs as he campaigns for re-election. House Republicans  remain opposed to accepting the money, and as Health News Florida reported recently, Senate President Don Gaetz doesn’t want to talk about it. 

Some groups are pushing them to change their mind. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, joined 100 Planned Parenthood supporters on Monday to rally for increased access to health care, the Tampa Tribune reports. Joyner said the senate needed to pass the bill that would expand Medicaid because people are “just floating around, praying and hoping that somebody will help you get medical care.”

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.