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Florida Giving Up 63,800 Jobs By Rejecting Federal Medicaid Expansion

| July 7, 2014

Unhealthy and unemployed. (Miguelángel Guédez)

Unhealthy and unemployed. (Miguelángel Guédez)

If President Obama was hoping the lure of 63,800 jobs would sway Florida’s Republican officials to expand Medicaid, he was mistaken.

Neither the governor nor legislative leaders had anything positive to say about the estimate by the Council of Economic Advisors released by the White House last week. The report offered a state-by-state forecast of the number of jobs that could be expected from expansion of health insurance to the low-income uninsured.

Gov. Rick Scott’s re-election opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, said the report showed that Scott was costing the state jobs. Scott’s campaign spokeswoman responded by bashing Crist’s record and boasting of job growth under Scott. But the campaign did not address the subject of the report, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Florida has not accepted the offer of federal funds — estimated at $51 billion over a decade — provided in the Affordable Care Act to cover uninsured people who fall into a gap. Florida has about 850,000 of them. They don’t qualify for state Medicaid, but fall below the federal poverty level and thus can’t qualify for subsidized coverage through the federal exchange, the Health Insurance Marketplace.

States that agreed to expand Medicaid — or a substitute private program that offers similar coverage — received 100 percent federal coverage of the costs for three years, beginning this year. Florida has missed the first year, but there are still two years to go. After that, the state has to kick in a percentage, leveling off at 10 percent after 2020.

According to the Times, which tried to get a response from top state officials, none of them had a changed his mind about taking the money.

One who had no regrets was outgoing House Speaker Will Weatherford, who in 2013 engineered the defeat of a Senate-passed bill that would have sought to use the federal money for private-plan coverage. He told the Times that he was “skeptical” of the job creation numbers and still has doubts the federal budget can sustain Medicaid expansion funding.

Incoming Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said he sees little chance of the House changing its mind. The incoming Speaker, Steve Crisafulli, made his continued opposition clear in a recent interview with News Service of Florida.

In that interview, Crisafulli said he would not agree to expand Medicaid. When asked about trying for a private insurance program that could use the federal funds, he said, “No. I don’t believe depending on the federal government to fund the program is appropriate for us. Everything about Obamacare has been a disaster, and expanding Medicaid as the federal law allows would be no different.”

Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said he could go along with a plan like the one offered by allies of Weatherford. That plan, called Florida Health Choices, would have relied only on state tax dollars, $237 million, and would have covered only disabled adults and parents with minor children still at home.

Critics cited three problems with Florida Health Choices: It would have covered just 115,000 at most, leaving most of those who lacked health insurance no better off; most who actually qualified for the coverage would not have been able to afford the premiums and co-pays; and by turning down federal tax dollars, state residents would be taxed twice to cover the same population.

After the vote in 2013, Health News Florida provided a summary of opponents’ objections.

–Carol Gentry, Health News Florida

14 Responses for “Florida Giving Up 63,800 Jobs By Rejecting Federal Medicaid Expansion”

  1. A.S.F. says:

    Rick Scott–the “jobs” governor!

  2. ted bundy says:

    scott is a thief and the leg is full of morons who have no interest in helping those who really need off the to the e.r. we go for medical help..rediculous..

  3. Sherry Epley says:

    Our “Tea Party” obsessed governor and his cronies in the Florida legislature would sell each and every citizen of Florida” down the river” rather than cooperate with twice elected Black Democrat President Obama on any issue! Rise up, think critically, move beyond the emotional manipulation of the Koch brothers, Rush Limbaugh and FOX( NOT) News! Get everyone you know to the polls, and end the reign of this horrible pack of despicable politicians!

  4. Katie O'Reilly says:

    Idiots elected another idiot who now is pooping on those who elected him.

  5. marty says:

    Rick Scott morality:

    OK to steal Medicare money when heading a giant healthcare company

    Not OK to provide health care at no cost to the State to poor people.

    When will people stop voting for Republicans?????????????

  6. ⓖⓔⓔⓩⓔⓡ -loves ya baby says:

    I was researching the toll on sick Floridians due to Skeletor Scott’s
    refusal of federal monies. At least 2000 people in ill health face potentially fatal
    consequences in the coming months. Many will simply drop dead while seeking care.

    Sad to say that people on board with that insensate shell of a man Scott could care less
    about the premature loss of life and needless suffering. You’d think that in this
    country this stuff couldn’t happen.

    Rick Scott has blood on his sticky hands. He is devoid of empathy for the sick among us.
    Fortunately for him – he has no conscience to keep him up at night.

    He’s an evil incarnate who was elected by ignorant, heartless voters – voters too stupid to
    reason that a known thief isn’t someone you elect to the governorship.


  7. Sandra Reynolds says:

    Actually it was the Republican House that rejected this federal help. Scott did a flip flop but did not try very hard to convince the house to approve it. Remember this Republicans and Independents on Election Day.

    • Carl says:

      No Scott pretended he wanted to expand medicaid and get teachers raises , it was all a phoney front , he told them I`m going to publicly say I want to help , but told House members to veto everything , was just a ploy to get re-elected , he cares only about the Rich , the rest of us can suffer.

  8. Carl says:

    Rick Scott if he had his way would Euthanize the sick the poor the old and the disabled , him and his ilk care only about profits , they`d rather get rid of all Americans that dont meet their criteria and replace them with cheap illegal Mexican labor , he is a monster and needs to goi!!!!

  9. confidential says:

    Wholly agree with all the intelligent citizens comments above.
    Lets get out and vote all these incumbents out!
    Of course okay for Scott to pluck Medicare clean while at the head of Columbia HCA, but now when the poor needs Medicaid and we all need those jobs in Florida he refuses to accept the Federal Funds that then will be taken by another state.
    Vote these crooks out!

  10. Ron says:

    I, for one, cannot wait until Crist is back in the governor’s mansion!

  11. No Crispy Crist says:

    Florida once again is getting a hefty bonus from the feds for “saving” taxpayers money.

    This year, the state’s Department of Children and Families managed to misspend only $47,829,887 in food stamp benefits. That’s out of almost $6 billion the state received from the federal government.

    Thank You Governor Scott

    • ⓖⓔⓔⓩⓔⓡ Shalom y'all says:

      Thank you Rick Scott for resigning as Chief Executive of Columbia/HCA in 1997 amid a controversy over your company’s business and Medicare billing practices; your company ultimately admitted to fourteen felonies and agreed to pay the federal government over $600 million, which was the largest fraud settlement in US history.
      ……………Since we’re on the subject of “misspent money.”

      Rick Scott: “Ignorant, and bigoted voters are my greatest asset. Help me perpetrate another big sham
      by reelecting me – and cementing your status as a retrograde, silly laughingstock state.”

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