Health Care In The States

Florida House Panel Opposes Medicaid Expansion

By Lynn Hatter, WFSU

March 4th, 2013, 2:48 PM

The Florida House of Representatives has signaled it won’t go along with Gov. Rick Scott to expand Medicaid coverage to more than a million low-income Floridians under the Affordable Care Act. The party-line vote came Monday shortly after a joint committee hearing on the law’s financial impact on the state.

Under the federal health care law, the state has the option to expand the Medicaid program, with the federal government picking up the tab for the first three years. That support would fall to 90 percent in later years.

Scott had signaled a week ago that he would support an expansion of Medicaid after the federal government approved the state’s plan to privatize the program. It was a major reversal coming from one of the health law’s staunchest Republican critics.  But in a meeting today, the House’s Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act said the state can’t rely on promises from the federal government that it might be unable to keep.

“What the federal government gives, it can take away,” said state Rep. Kathleen Passidomo, R-Naples.

The vote against the Medicaid expansion was along party lines, with 10 Republicans voting no and five Democrats voting in favor of the expansion. Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, who supports the expansion, says Florida is one of the states that needs it most.

“We’re at the bottom of the barrel for people who need these services,” said Thurston.

Earlier in the day, state economist Amy Baker told a joint meeting of the House and Senate PPACA committees that the state could see gains in employment, wages and state revenues from the expansion. But Baker also presented worst-case scenarios that projected decreases in personal income and lower state revenues.

Meanwhile, the Senate select committee has postponed a meeting originally set for later today. Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, who leads that committee, is the architect of the Medicaid managed care program which was tentatively approved by the federal government last month.

“Whether senators support or oppose expansion, the choice comes with far-reaching consequences for individuals, health care providers, and the entire state,” Negron said in a statement. “The additional time between today and our next meeting will allow senators to review and study these important issues to ensure that our final decisions and recommendations receive the thoughtful and careful consideration they deserve.”

Monday’s vote sets up a possible split-legislature scenario in which Medicaid expansion is supported by the Senate and opposed by the House, which is the more conservative chamber in Florida. Both chambers of the legislature have Republican majorities.

This story is part of a collaboration that includes WFSU, NPR and Kaiser Health News.

3 Responses to “Florida House Panel Opposes Medicaid Expansion”

  1. stan says:

    The Florida House of Representatives…

    Nothing but a bunch of Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons.

  2. I’ll be checking into which area you fine outstanding Americans are from so I can keep this in mind when elections come up again….NOW YOU KNOW WHY I DON’T VOTE FOR ANY REPUBLICANS…. AND I’LL BE LOOKING AT THE DEMOCRATS ALSO !!!!!! SHAME,SHAME,SHAME ON ALL OF YOU !!!!!!! WE THE PEOPLE WILL HAVE THE LAST LAUGH !!! ;-)

  3. Robert Goldberg says:

    The Florida House of Representatives is a pesthole of inhumane sociopaths with moneybags for hearts. May they all wind up in abject, helpless poverty, needing the help and succor of others. Maybe then they’ll grow something in their chests that actually beats. If the people of Florida don’t vote these creeps out in the next election, we’ll know we have the garbage government we deserve.