Advocates Planning Major Push For Medicaid Expansion

Jan 8, 2015

Advocates of a Medicaid expansion are counting on several issues converging at once to help push the reluctant and Republican-dominated House—to accept the dollars.

The first is the looming expiration of $2 billion provided to hospitals to help cover uninsured patients called the Low-Income Pool. The second: the businesses face tax penalties if certain workers are uninsured.

“So that pressure is what gives us hope. And you know, the saying goes—the devil is in the details," says longtime consumer advocate Karen Woodall. She notes the Florida House--the chamber that has been the main obstruction point for a Medicaid expansion-- is much more receptive to business interests.

At stake is $40 billion  in federal funding over the next eight years to add more low-income people to the state’s Medicaid roles. The Republican-led Florida house has thwarted efforts to accept the money, but businesses, healthcare providers and local chambers of commerce are pushing the legislature to change its stance.

Last summer the powerful Florida Medical Association came out in support of expanding the program. And a coalition of local businesses, hospitals and other providers is also pushing the state to expand Medicaid--although its not using the name of the program in its advocacy.