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Will Medicaid Expansion Be Factor in Today's Election?

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.

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.)

A Republican pastor named Bill Gunter is vying for the seat against Democrat Amanda Murphy, a vice president for Raymond James. Fasano endorsed Murphy.

Gary J. Stein, a retired public health professional turned consumer advocate, writes for ContextFlorida that the Medicaid expansion vote could play a role in today's election. Fasano was the only House Republican to side with Democrats in a losing attempt to "expand Medicaid" -- actually, pass a Senate bill that would have accepted $51 billion in federal funds to expand private health insurance to adults below the poverty level.

Stein thinks so. As he writes: "Tuesday may be the day that a Democrat reclaims a seat in Tallahassee for Pasco. If that happens, it may be that a strong, financially savvy candidate, a divisive issue regarding healthcare and a warrior who always cared more about people than politics made it happen."

Murphy favors taking the money. Gunter does not. Could that swing the election?

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.