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House panel kills Medicaid expansion on session eve

by John Kennedy | March 4th, 2013

On the eve of the start of the 2013 Legislature, Gov. Rick Scott was dealt a blow Monday when a House committee killed his push for Medicaid expansion.

In a party-line vote, 10 Republicans on the House’s committee on the Affordable Care Act, voted against expansion; five Democrats sided with the Republican governor, who recently dropped his longtime opposition to the measure, which is expected to make 1 million lower-income Floridians eligibile for Medicaid.

“What you saw today was theater of the absurd,” said Rep. Mark Pafford, D-West Palm Beach, following the vote.

House Republicans took turns at the microphone to question expansion, saying it put the state at risk for future costs and relied on funding from a federal government which is weathering a host of fiscal challenges. Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’ Lakes, at one point likened the state relying on federal assurances of fully paying costs for the first three years of expansion as similar to tthose offered investors in Bernie Madoff’s Wall Street schemes.

“You cannot rely on someone giving us money when they are borrowing 50-cents on the dollars,” Corcoran said.

The House action came only hours after a Senate committee postponed its scheduled hearing where there was the possibility of a vote on expansion. But committee chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart,  raised hopes among many health care advocates by speaking generally about how Florida should make every effort to assure that Florida’s 4 million uninsured become eligible for some kind of health coverage.

The House vote likely sets the stage for a session-long fight over expansion. The politics have been complicated, with Scott getting clear support from Democrats long accustomed to opposing his policies, while Republicans are divided, at best.

Defying conservatives in his own party, Scott said he wants the Legislature to approve expanding Medicaid to 138 percent of the poverty level, a move which would make eligible almost 1 million Floridians.

Medicaid already serves 3.2 million people and absorbs almost one-third of the state’s $70 billion budget. But saying no to expansion just means Florida tax dollars will be spent in other states, supporters have said.

Under the expansion, the federal government would pay for 100 percent of the expansion until 2016, when states would start paying a 5 percent share that would gradually increase to a maximum of 10 percent of new costs by 2020.

Estimates vary, but analysts have said Medicaid expansion could bring Florida $26 billion in federal dollars over the next decade. Florida taxpayers are expected to pay $3 billion during that period, according to the state’s Agency for Health Care Administration.

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12 Responses to “House panel kills Medicaid expansion on session eve”

  1. Nemo Says:

    Rick Scott is a traitor and betrayed the Tea Party. We must fired his arse… Time to replace the snake… we would replaced him in the next election!

  2. GTFOOH Says:

    I must agree, how can you expand ANY program when there is no money? Sure, the solution for those that want to destroy this country (or that are just plain idiots) is to continue to borrow.

    Deport most of the illegal aliens and then you will have enough money to cover most citizens.

  3. GTFOOH Says:

    I never knew there were so many failed basic math and economics. Too many idiots out there!

    What part of THERE IS NO MONEY do you not understand?

  4. Dick Scott Says:

    You fools voted for Scott, now wise up in 2014 and vote him out

  5. Toni Says:

    So all you Republican’s who are against Medicaid how about you march on Tallahassee and demand the Republicans close the loop-hole that allows wealthy individuals to hide their wealthy relatives money so they can dump them into Medicaid and have the state’s taxpayer’s pay for their nursing home. Oh I forgot they are part of the 1% so that’s okay with you hypocrites.

  6. Thomas Says:

    Do all the republicans ride into these meetings in a tiny car, and then all fall out. Ringling Brothers musc should be played at all these legislative meetings.

  7. GTFOOH Says:

    Let me see….even if you close all corporate tax loopholes and tax the rich at let’s say 75% (that should satisfy the socialists), you still DO NOT have enough money!!!!!

    ALSO, You cannot let 11 million people come into this country illegally and then expect to have enough to socialize health care. There is not enough to go around!!!! Go to CUBA or VENEZUELA and see how great things are over there!!! Now, if you shut down the military, then you will have enough to create many social programs. We could then become CUBA or VENEZUELA.

  8. Searcher1 Says:

    I tried posting twice here. The posts were not allowed. But I can post the exact same thing in the Tampa Bay Trib without a problem. What’s up with that?

  9. Dick Scott Says:

    CRIST 2014

  10. Kevin Says:

    Wow, one idiot tea bagger congressman after another took the stage to explain how they are planning to bankrupt Florida’s safety net hospitals so they can be true to their anti anything Obama pledge. You morons are going down the tubes in the 2014 state house election, mark my words. This is not in the best interest of Floridians. These are my tax dollars that will now go to another state so you idiots can say that you were true to Grover Norquist. Even idiot boy Scott can comprehend this. No wonder the Bushes and Carl Rove are trying to destroy you idiots before you can destroy the Republican Party at large. When will you tea party “rocket surgeons” realize that government budget finances are nothing like your home budget finances? For instance, you can’t print money without going to jail. That’s nothing more than a backend method of extracting cash from the public through managed inflation and it affects everybody’s dollars the same. Your lack of sophistication deprives you of the ability to comprehend the benefit to our community some of these programs have. If you think crime rates are bad in the hood now just wait till the people are starving and the violence spills into your gated community streets. You can’t kill them all with your gun. You people are in for a big surprise at the pearly gate. Than said Crist gets my vote in 2014 without a doubt.

  11. jac Says:

    GOP is a dying breed. Getting less and less as if they are all on birth control pills. Many now think the rich are the cause of this bad economy than the welfare recipients.

  12. 2014 Says:

    2014!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It can’t come soon enough!!!!!!!

    Democrat, Indie… Shoot I’d vote for anyone or anything as long as they are NOT a Republican.

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