Rita Stevens

Tallahassee businesswoman Rita Stevens runs a bustling childcare center. In addition to caring for other people’s children, Stevens is the primary caregiver for her adult daughter who has a mental disability. Her daughter is able to live in her own apartment with assistance but Stevens says there’s still a lot to do.

“I feel like I have to babysit the caregivers and stay on top of them to make sure her room is getting cleaned. They have these supportive living plans and making sure they’re following those," she said.

Who won during the 2013 legislative session?  Teachers and state workers won. They’re getting pay raises. Democrats helped kill a controversial bill giving parents a greater say in the fate of failing schools.  Senate President Don Gaetz and House Speaker Will Weatherford can claim victory. They got bills through revising the state’s ethics, elections and campaign finance laws.  A budget surplus this year means there were plenty of goodies to go around. So who, or what, came out on the losing side?

Low-income seniors living in and around Orlando will be the first entrants into the state’s Medicaid managed care program.

The state will begin an outreach program in the next few months to get eligible seniors enrolled. It’s the latest move in the state’s effort to save money by effectively privatizing the Medicaid program.

The question of whether Florida would expand its Medicaid program to cover more low-income people has been answered, and it’s a “no” -- at least for now. The state legislature closed its regular session Friday failing to reach an agreement on expanding access to the program under the Affordable Care Act.

To be revived in the near term, Gov. Rick Scott would have to call a special session of the legislature. There’s been no indication that he is willing to do that – or close to a deal with state House Republicans that would warrant such a session.

The Florida Senate has officially narrowed the list of Medicaid alternative plans pending in the legislature from three, to two.

Lawmakers in the upper chamber okayed a proposal that would draw down some $51 billion  in federal money to allow an additional million low-income people to purchase plans. Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Joe Negron of Stewart, says his proposal is not an extension of the current Medicaid program.               

Anna Malefatto / Planned Parenthood of South Florida and the Treasure Coast

Women’s health advocates from Planned Parenthood are calling on Florida lawmakers to expand insurance coverage to more than 1 million low-income people. The group is the latest of many who are rallying in support of the government’s expanding healthcare. Meanwhile the Florida Legislature continues debating a couple of health care proposals.

Students and adults from around the state gathered Monday on the steps of Florida’s Old Historic Capitol. They held signs that said “I stand with Planned Parenthood.”

Jessica Palombo / WFSU-FM

A week after both houses of the Florida Legislature rejected the expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care law, Democratic leaders in the Florida House are speaking out. House Democrats are saying more Floridians need insurance coverage as soon as possible, one way or another.

It’s a common refrain from Florida Democrats about the state’s lack of implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act. House Minority Leader Perry Thurston talked to reporters on Thursday.

It’s About Florida: Medicaid Expansion

Mar 11, 2013

Florida could cover around a million more low-income people if it expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But the House seems to have thrown cold water on that idea. So does that mean the Medicaid Expansion issue is dead?

Guests: Bruce Reuben, President of the Florida Hospital Association

Carol Weissert, Political Scientist at Florida State University

Capital Report: 03-08-2013

Mar 8, 2013

Medicaid has come to dominate headlines in the first week of the legislative session, dividing Florida’s Republican lawmakers and sparking doubts that an expansion of the program under the federal health law could be dead on arrival. The House opposes the expansion, the Governor supports it. And while the Senate has yet to state it’s position, that chamber’s leader says the writing is on the wall. Here’s Ronald J Ebben with a look at the week in Medicaid.

Beverley Martin is a nurse who has spent years working in hospitals. Still, she says she wasn’t quite prepared emotionally for when she had to put her elderly mother in a nursing home.

“It was terrifying for one thing. Because, you know, you can be in the business forever, but when it affects someone in your family, you really don’t know where to turn.” 

Martin says she felt overwhelmed by all the paperwork--forms for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The worst part, she says, is the guilt.