Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Florida Must Expand Medicaid Now

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Point of View; Florida Must Expand Medicaid Now

Article excerpt

Byline: Rep. Corrine Brown

The state of Florida needs to implement Medicaid expansion through

the Affordable Care Act immediately!

The decision is simple and straightforward: Florida taxpayers would benefit from an expansion, Floridians in need of health care would obtain insurance, and the Florida health care system would prosper.

So what is the hold-up? Florida Republicans in the House and Florida Gov. Rick Scott are playing politics with the health care of our most vulnerable residents.

Ironically, the billions of dollars that would be provided by the federal government to expand Medicaid for uninsured Floridians is made up of taxes that Floridians have already sent to Washington!

Yet just like the federal funds for high-speed rail that were refused by the governor and quickly disbursed and rerouted to other states, Affordable Care Act funding for Medicaid expansion, if it continues to be rejected by the state Legislature, will be utilized by other states to provide health coverage to their own residents, thanks in part to Florida taxpayers.


Even Scott has been quoted as saying previously, when he supported Medicaid Expansion, that by refusing federal money, the House plan inflicts a "double-hit to state taxpayers."

To date, of the nine states that continue to receive Low Income Pool funding, only four have not expanded Medicaid: Florida, Texas, Kansas and Tennessee.

In addition, a reduction in the number of uninsured Floridians would bring huge relief to Florida hospitals that are required to treat all emergency room visits regardless of a patient's ability to pay.

A report commissioned by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured estimates that Medicaid expansion in states across the nation shows "state savings, revenue gains and limited costs."

Conversely, Scott's decision to allow $51 billion (over 10 years) in Florida taxpayer money to flow to other states for their residents' health care is a critical part of what is exacerbating the financial problems at nonprofit hospitals that serve low-income Floridians, such as UF Health-Jacksonville and Jackson Memorial in Miami. …

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