Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Health News Florida

Nelson to Gaetz: Blame House, Not Feds

Bill_Nelson_speakig.jpg

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson says the Florida House and not the federal government is to blame for the state's lack of Medicaid expansion.

Nelson, a Democrat, is responding to Sen. President Don Gaetz's letter last week to Sylvia Burwell, nominee for Secretary of Health & Human Services. In it, Gaetz, a Republican, said states need more authority to design their own programs for the Medicaid expansion. In Florida, that includes about 800,000 poor adults.

In his  letter, Nelson said though the Senate showed signs last year that it wants to expand Medicaid, Gaetz should blame his Legislative counterparts.

"It was the unwillingness of the Florida House - not the Federal government - to compromise what was ultimately responsible for a final bill falling short of the Governor's desk," he wrote in the letter dated April 18.

Gaetz's letter specifically asks that Florida be allowed to implement a partial or gradual expansion to include adults up to 138 percent of the poverty level. It also asked for flexibility to charge enrollees for the health coverage, depending on income. And he requested a lifting of some bureaucratic paperwork.

But Nelson said that's not what the Affordable Care Act allows.

"Expansion must be statewide and it must not impose unreasonable costs on this vulnerable population," Nelson wrote.