A new report estimates 693,000 uninsured Floridians could have health coverage if the state expanded Medicaid as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act.
The report, released by the Washington-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, said people ages 19 to 29 and 50 to 64 would benefit the most from an expansion, with 193,000 and 184,000 people being eligible, respectively.
The report also said an expansion would help about 113,000 essential front-line workers, which are defined, among others, as people who work in food production, health care, manufacturing and public services.
Florida is one of 15 states that have not expanded Medicaid to cover low-income adults who don’t qualify under current Medicaid requirements.
Republican legislative leaders have repeatedly rejected the idea of an expansion. The federal government would pay for most of an expansion under the Affordable Care Act, but Republican leaders have pointed, in part, to potential long-term costs to the state.
Supporters of expansion, however, say the change would help people who are unable to afford other coverage.
“It’s time for Florida leaders to put aside partisan opposition to Medicaid expansion and think about their constituents in each of these groups: from front-line health care workers to older Floridians to working parents,” said Miriam Harmatz, executive director of Florida Health Justice Project, a group that advocates for expanded health care access.