Across Florida
What's happening on other political blogs?

Senate panel joins House in defying Scott, rejecting Medicaid expansion

by John Kennedy | March 11th, 2013

A Senate panel Monday joined its House counterpart in rejecting Gov. Rick Scott’s push to expand Medicaid to bring health coverage to another 1 million lower-income Floridians.

The partyline vote came after Republicans ridiculed the expansion as building on a broken Medicaid system. Scott’s call to at least try the expansion for the three years it will be fully financed by the federal government also carried little weight with critics.

But Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, said lawmakers will work on devising their own plan — one that will likely be subject to lengthy review by the federal government.

“I do not see the solution as doing nothing,” Simmons said. “But I do not see the solution being Medicaid expansion in its traditional form.”

Lawmakers are talking of trying to craft a Florida plan similar to that proposed in Arkansas, where patients qualifying for Medicaid would use federal dollars to buy private coverage through still being-developed online marketplaces, called health exchanges.

Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, chairman of the Senate panel that has been exploring the Affordable Care Act, said he sees using the Florida Healthy Kids program to expand health coverage to lower-income Floridians.

Negron likened Medicaid currently to a 1950s-styled Soviet program. Rather than building on it, lawmakers were “rejecting the Washington plan while creating a Florida plan,” he said.

Scott, however, found a silver lining in the move.

“I am confident that the Legislature will do the right thing and find a way to protect taxpayers and the uninsured in our state while the new health care law provides 100 percent federal funding,” Scott said after the 7-4 vote, in which the only support for Medicaid expansion came from Democrats.

Florida could draw $51 billion from the federal government over the next 10 years with the Medicaid expansion, an amount recent revised upward by state economists. While the first three years would be fully covered by federal officials, state taxpayers would pay $5.2 billion to get the dollars through the subseqent seven years.

Democrats were stunned — pointing out that Republican leaders were also defying major business associations and Florida hospitals, which also have embraced the expansion.

“We have a moral and economic responsibility to seize this moment for the good of Floridians,” said Sen. Eleanor Sobel, D-Hollywood.”

Defying conservatives in his own party, Scott last month said he wanted the Legislature to approve expanding Medicaid to 138 percent of the poverty level, a move which would make eligible about 1 million more 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.



14 Responses to “Senate panel joins House in defying Scott, rejecting Medicaid expansion”

  1. JustMeee Says:

    Florida is as Florida does…you get what you want, but in the form that you deserve. Ya morons!

  2. Just Wunderin' Says:

    @JustMeee, you’re a genius. Let’s expand a program that’s broken just to say we did something. Typical liberal philosophy.

  3. Dick Scott Says:


  4. Sara Goodman Says:

    Dems say Florida Hospitals are on board- they should be! Our Legislature has made sure that Florida hospitals have no competition and are monopolies. Adventist Health claims to be non-profit, but check your credit reports if you must use them, they check it before they will ever admit you. Per their personnel: “to determine the quality of care they can provide to you”.

    Sen. Simmons from Altamonte is a RINO and not a conservative Republican, so of course he’s willing to give things away for “free” as long as he feels it will not affect him too much!
    He helped school board in his district advocate additional mileage tax, even though the board is wasting dollars & lining pockets. He was supported by NEA!

  5. Republican Club Says:

    We will vote for anyone but Rick Scott. Even if it means to have Charlie Crist back. At least we know Charlie.

  6. Kevin Says:

    Wow, here it is, another great conservative idea garnering the tea party seal of approval as verified by the Tea Lady herself. Let’s steer as much public money as possible into the hands of insurance company share holders instead of the entities that provide the needed healthcare directly. There is no need to introduce this leech industry into this process when providers already have existing formulas for direct reimbursement at extremely discounted rates via Medicaid. The only thing I can surmise is that the insurance industry lobby has more republican congress members in their pockets than the healthcare lobby does. Utilizing this piece of brilliant conservative legislation, we will pay the same amount of money and provide half the healthcare to struggling families. I am really beginning to believe that conservatism is a mental disorder brought on by an inability to reason effectively, an acute lack of human empathy and repeated exposure to AM talk radio brain washing tactics. So sad….

  7. Dick Scott Says:

    clearly Scott has no chance of re election, I’m also an embarrassed republican that has been turned off by what that party has become. The republicans in Tally will have a rude awakeing in 2014

  8. David Says:

    FL lawmakers should be REQUIRED to live on the minimum wage for two months. See how much health care is available at those wage levels. Whether you agree or not, it makes no sense to turn down 100% payment from the Fed. If, after 3 years we don’t like it, we can change it. I would rather poke myself in the eye with a sharp stick than vote for any Republican – especially Scott!

  9. Kevin Says:

    Sarah, what are you getting at? I can guarantee everyone here that no one told you that they needed to check your credit report to determine the quality of care they can provide to you. You’re either making that up or heard it wrong. If you have decent insurance there is no need to check your credit rating because the insurance company is the guarantor. Now if you walked in off the street into any hospital department other than the ER with no insurance then you are the financially responsible party and will pay about 5 times the rate an insurance company would pay for the same services. In this case it’s appropriate to determine your ability to pay the bill. Non for profit does not mean free of charge. Since you are not supporting Medicaid expansion and don’t have insurance I suggest that if you need surgery you can drive down to Miami and get into one of those Cuban home garage based medical centers. They have much less overhead and can spin you a good deal. Of course you may die from an infection but at least you are not contributing to the socialization of healthcare and you got it on the cheap.

  10. Thomas Says:

    Do you think we wont pay for this health care anyway? The poor will always recieve healthcare, so come up with a system which will allow it to be managed, and in a way which will not be abused. Republicans slam it and say it’s too expensive, while failing to suggest a better system.

  11. OBIWAN Says:


    So, my quick thumb saying over $5 million or double the ‘official FED’ Medicaid number is close to the target being discussed?

    Simple math then, common sense action now!

    You don’t use a known defective product to expand citizen services!

    First steps HHS cannot muddle:

    1. Consider no more proportional assistance than private employers provide their working employees. Higher deductibles, co-pays, etc for a ‘leaner plan’ than taxpayers get!

    2. Eliminate most all ‘state supplements’ this ‘newspaper’ still wonders what we are talking about! NO, we don’t clean your windows! NO, you still must rely on families and friends like the rest of us for custodial care of any kind! NO, WalMart, CVS, Publix, Walgreens, etc. can handle 95% of your drugs needed for just $10 @ 90 days!

    3. Tighten the Managed Care screws until they dream about correct plan utilization and out of network penalties!
    You might not find any Podiatrists, Allergists or Vein Specialists making house calls!

    They don’t work – they got time to read the fine print over and over and over…

  12. 2014 Says:

    Florida Republicans are the epitome of the “coddle the rich, tax the poor” mentality of the fascist right.

    The incredible thing is that they call themselves “patriots”!!!

    All they care about is ripping off their neighbor in any way possible. That’s not a “country” or a “state”, it is an unsustainable Winner Take All society in which the very few have everything and the rest of us live in poverty.

    We must FIRE every single Republican from office!

  13. hamburger helper Says:

    This is such political theater. Rick Scott only flip-flopped on his Medicaid stance because there were back room deals made with the legislative leadership. He was guaranteed to not have to worry about this coming to his desk and in the meantime looks like the good guy for his alleged “concern” for Florida’s uninsured. I’ll believe otherwise when pigs fly.

  14. Dewitt Fuertes Says:

    I precisely wished to say thanks all over again. I’m not certain the things that I would have taken care of without the actual creative concepts shared by you concerning this area. It previously was an absolute depressing scenario for me personally, nevertheless witnessing your specialized mode you managed it forced me to cry with fulfillment. I will be happy for your help and then believe you are aware of a great job that you’re putting in teaching other individuals all through your websites. Most probably you haven’t come across any of us.

Florida political tweeters
Video: Politics stories