Burwell to FL Leaders: Let's Talk

Dec 9, 2014

If Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell has a chance, she wants to talk with Florida leaders about expanding Medicaid in Florida.

Burwell was at Florida Hospital in Orlando Tuesday promoting open enrollment on the federal HealthCare.gov insurance exchange.  

She said in an interview with Health News Florida that she’s trying to understand why Florida’s legislature has decided to not expand the government health coverage for the poor. She said she’s open to talking about Medicaid expansion with legislative leaders and Governor Rick Scott.

“I’m always open to any and all conversations and happy to have those,” said Burwell. “I want to do it in a way that’s respectful of what the leadership here in Florida would like.”

The secretary also discussed the pending U.S. Supreme Court challenge to the Affordable Care Act that questions whether Floridians and residents of dozens of other states are eligible to receive subsidies to cover monthly premiums on their health plans.

“We don’t believe that people in New York should get the subsidies and people in Florida should not,” she said. “The Congress did not intend that when they passed the law. So right now, there’s no change. People should come in and get those subsides and benefit from that affordability.”

The Supreme Court is expected to hear the case in March, weeks after the 2015 open enrollment period ends. Burwell and other advocates are encouraging people to sign up for coverage, as a court decision will not be decided.

-- Health News Florida reporter Abe Aboraya is part of WMFE in Orlando. Contact him at (407) 273-2300 x 183, on Twitter @AbeAboraya, or email at aaboraya@wmfe.org. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.