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Court ruling now heightens focus on future of Florida’s Medicaid program

by John Kennedy | June 28th, 2012

The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday on the Affordable Care Act intensifies focus on the measure’s Medicaid expansion — with states given authority to shun the added coverage outlined by the federal law.

Medicaid already absorbs about almost one-third of Florida’s $69.9 billion state budget. Gov. Rick Scott and Republican leaders in the Legislature have warned Florida taxpayers can’t afford to underwrite any expansion in a program serving poor, disabled and elderly Floridians.

Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, a former Republican congressman, was among the first to lash out at the decision.

“Unconstitutional or not, the so-called ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’ is the wrong policy for reforming health care and the wrong direction for America,” Putnam said. “Individual liberties and the doctor-patient relationship took a step back today.”  

 Despite his longheld opposition, Scott last week reiterated his earlier stance that the state would comply with the law, following the Supreme Court’s ruling. Still, he said he remained “optimistic” the sweeping legislation would be overturned by justices.

Now the focus is on the fate of Medicaid, which already absorbs $21.4 billion of Florida’s $69.9 billion state budget. State taxpayers pick up $9.7 billion of the program, with the remainder covered by the federal government.

State officials said Florida taxpayers will have to pay $121.2 million more next year, mostly to cover the enrollment of those already eligible for coverage but who have stayed out of the program for various reasons. The Affordable Care Act’s mandate is likely to bring these Floridians into Medicaid.

But cost of annual coverage is expected to reach an additional $473 million by 2016.

But health care advocates have argued the Affordable Care  Act is worth the extra cost. Florida has 4 million have no health coverage, among the largest populations in the nation without coverage.

Workers losing jobs and health coverage during the economic downturn swelled the ranks of low-income, elderly and disabled Floridians covered by Medicaid from 2.1 million in 2007 to 3 million this year, with the number forecast to grow to 5 million by 2020 under the new law.

Under the law, the federal government would absorb all of the initial expansion costs, but states will have to start paying a percentage in 2016 if they want to draw federal dollars.

 The states’ share for those becoming eligible under the new law would max out at 10 percent in 2020, but even that, state officials say, is expected to cost an extra $1 billion in Florida.


13 Responses to “Court ruling now heightens focus on future of Florida’s Medicaid program”

  1. Z Says:

    The problem is the expense of healthcare. The real solution is tort reform to reduce the cost of medical care. I consider myself lucky to be employed and with good health insurance in today’s economy, and I also believe that we do need to help those less fortunate. No one in this country should be denied healthcare because they can’t afford it. But this is not the correct solution to the problem. If the costs of healthcare are brought back down to reasonable levels, then the cost of Medicaid and similar programs would no longer be as significant as they are now and the cost problem would be solved.

  2. SciGuy Says:

    Health care will never be affordable to anyone as long as insurance companies walk away with billions of policy holders’ premium payments. You cannot create health care for people in a capitalist society where profits, dividends, and CEO’s are paid millions for doing nothing. Canada and Europe already enjoy a health care system that puts ours to shame. Big insurance and the Republiclowns could care less what you need or want. For shame!

  3. GO OBAMA Says:

    Why do Republicans hate LIFE?

  4. LoveLess Says:

    @GO OBAMA, I don’t think Republicans hate life, they just love the life more of those who can’t or won’t vote against them…

  5. GO OBAMA Says:

    True, Loveless.

    What they do, actually, is suck the life out of this country with their proto-fascist anti-middle class policies and relentless corporate/fascist propaganda.

    How much money did corporate special interests dump on the American people the last few years? It’s in the HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

    America can take note that News Corpse is splitting its two functions into two companies. One side is the news (mostly newspapers) and the other side is called ENTERTAINMENT. Guess which side includes “Fox News”, America. Mmm hmm!

  6. GO OBAMA Says:

    Top 10 markets for anti-Obama-plan spending:

    ***Orlando, $8.2M
    Philadelphia, $7.9M
    ***Tampa, $7.8M
    Pittsburgh, $7.6M
    Denver, $7.3M
    Cleveland, $5.9M
    Boston, $5.5M
    D.C., $4.7M
    Phoenix, $4.5M
    Las Vegas, $4.4M

    Gee, two of the top 3 are right here in Florida.

    Total of $235 MILLION around the country in false, negative ads against ACA.

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  8. Voxpopuli Says:


    NUMBER OF UNINSURED: 3.85 million Floridians are uninsured, or about 21 percent.

    WHERE THE STATE STANDS: Republican Gov. Rick Scott ordered the state not to accept federal money for implementing the health care law after he took office last year. Florida has rejected or declined to pursue more than $106 million and has returned $4.5 million. The state has its own health insurance exchanges, mainly for small businesses but without an individual mandate. The state has not implemented an exchange that would meet the requirements of the federal law.

    WHAT HAPPENS NOW: Scott says if the federal law is upheld, Florida will continue to resist implementation because he’s hoping Mitt Romney will be elected president and the law will be repealed. If that doesn’t happen, Scott says Florida will comply.

    Corporations are not people.
    Money is not free speech.
    The hand that comes to extinguish the torch of liberty comes wrapped in its flag.
    We must be vigilant from All threats to our Democracy both foreign and domestic.
    We all must exercise the Constitutional Rights that our forefathers fought and died for.
    We must stop the destructive Voodoo, Not Trickling down, Not Free market economics that is destroying what was once the backbone of this nation the working class.
    We must not let Gov Scott, the Republicans, and the tea party or any other entity subvert our Democracy by the systematic denial of an individual’s right to vote
    The Republicans and the tea party are snake oil sales men extracting wealth by selling Poverty,War and Suffering to the American People.
    We must make our voices herd.
    Register and VOTE

  9. patrick Says:

    well i am a business owner with 26 employess and this is going to cripple our business. seriously considering just closing shop and retiring. the small business owners are going to get hit hard by this act.

  10. patrick Says:

    and don’t play politica with me on this as i’am a lifelong democrat and have coted that way every general since 1976.

  11. GO OBAMA Says:


    The Affordable Care Act does not require employers to provide health insurance for their employees.

    The Employer Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act applies businesses with more than 50 full-time workers.

    I STRONGLY encourage you to read that link in its entirety before throwing out the baby with the bath water.

    Just trying to help.

  12. Carie Says:

    All I can say about this is…take the freaking NON american citizens off the medicaid rolls and there will be millions of dollars saved. I am unemployed. My unemployment checks were taken away thanks to our governor, Icannot afford health insurance and do not qualify for medicaid, but a NON citizen does!!!! As an American CITIZEN I am appalled about this. No help for me, but if I were a non citizen, I could get help for free. Doesn’t pay to be a citizen here.

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