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Another Red State Takes Medicaid Dollars, Contrasting With Florida’s Holdout

| September 1, 2013

Red states have Republican governors, blue ones have Democrats as governor. (Wikipedia)

Red states have Republican governors, blue ones have Democrats as governor. (Wikipedia)

Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, has voted to accept federal funds and expand its Medicaid program to the low-income uninsured. It is yet another GOP-dominated state that has done what Florida did not.

Florida was offered an estimated $51 billion over 10 years to cover around 1 million adults who currently don’t qualify for the program. The governor and Senate said they could go along with it if private plans were used, but the House would not.

While the latest polls indicate that a majority of Americans don’t want to see Obamacare “defunded,” as the Palm Beach Post reports, threats to tie up Congress in such a fight continue, led by Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.

As Health News Florida reported recently, Republican members of the U.S. House from Florida are split almost evenly on the question.  U.S. Senators are split, too.

Meanwhile:

–Michigan, which like Florida has a Republican governor and legislative majority, nevertheless passed Medicaid expansion to cover low-income uninsured who don’t already qualify for the state program, the New York Times reports. Under the health law, a majority of the funds for the first 10 years is provided by the federal government.

Michigan follows the example of Arizona, one of the first strongly Republican states to accept Medicaid expansion. But Florida’s House balked during the spring session, and few members of the legislature think House Speaker Will Weatherford will melt his opposition.

–Insurers that have applied to be part of the federal online Marketplace have been notified that U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has pushed back the date for contract signing to mid-September, Reuters reports. Administration officials say that should not delay the Oct. 1 opening of the Marketplace in states that are relying on the federal enrollment site, including Florida.

–A majority of Americans polled say they still don’t understand the Affordable Care Act, the Wall Street Journal Online reports. That confusion is greatest among the uninsured; one in 10 of the uninsured in the poll say they have been contacted by an outreach worker.

The Washington Post reports that five other states have joined Florida in abandoning their traditional role of enforcing consumer protections in health insurance.
–Carol Gentry, Health News Florida

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