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Florida and South Carolina fight against Medicaid expansion

U.S. Rep. Clyburn and Senator Chris Smith

U.S. Rep. Clyburn and Senator Chris Smith

Florida and South Carolina fight against Medicaid expansion

By Derek Joy

The holiday spirit of giving is blatantly absent from virtually every political act of State legislators in 25 of the 50 states.

Thus far, 25 states and the District of Columbia have taken the voluntary path of Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Health Care Act (AHCA) allowed by the U. S. Supreme Court.

Hence, Florida, South Carolina and 23 other states have failed to implement Medicaid expansion under the AHCA that Republicans call Obama Care.

The AHCA provides for 100 percent funding for the first three years and no less than 90 percent thereafter. Florida would receive $51 billion to expand Medicaid, a move that would then provide insurance coverage for some 1.7 million uninsured Floridians.

Obviously, the infusion of $51 billion would provide the uninsured access to health care, yield a stimulating economic boost and create jobs.

“Medicare is a right to all seniors. It’s an Entitlement Pro-gram. Contrary to what Re-publicans are saying, no one is being dropped from Medicare,” said U. S. Rep. James Clyburn, (Dem., S.C.), who is the House Democratic Assistant Leader.

“Medicaid is a state program.  The Supreme Court gave states the right to expand or not. My state of South Carolina decided not to expand Medicaid.  They’re experiencing 15 percent to 20 percent expansion in Medicaid rolls and have to pay 50 percent of that.

“They are doing themselves a tremendous injustice by not participating in the AHCA.  There are some 17-million un-insured people in this country and 250,000 of those are in my state,” Clyburn added, while noting, “The governor of Florida expressed interest in expanding Medicaid. But, of course, he has to work with his State Legislature.”

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, who made his fortune as the CEO of a Health Maintenance Organization, initially rejected AHCA and Medicaid Expansion. He later softened his stance, a move many believe is nothing more than a re-election campaign ploy.

Consequently, Florida’s 1.7million uninsured, with more than 700,000 of those residing in South Florida from Monroe County to Martin County, will continue being denied affordable health care insurance.

“The Senate passed a Bill to expand Medicaid, but it died in the House,” said Florida State Senator Chris Smith, (Dem., Fort Lauderdale). We tend to work together more in the Senate than they do in the House.

“It’s like in Congress. The same thing in Florida. We can pass it in the Senate. The House will fight against it because it’s Obama Care. They fight to hold it back. They fight like hell against anything President Obama does. They’re a bunch of radical Tea Party Republicans.”

Florida Senator Joe Negron, (Republican Palm City), introduced Medicaid expansion legislation that passed in the Senate, but died in the House. His efforts, according to some, resulted in intimidating backlash.

A source, who requested anonymity, said:  “Sen. Negron was trying to create legislation that would’ve benefited all Floridians.  But he caught so much flak from Republicans he got cold feet. He may not bring it up again.”

Negron’s Legislative Assistant, Carrie Lira, denied he received any backlash for his efforts.

“The Bill passed the Senate but did not pass the House.  The Bill would have expanded Medicaid. He will not refile the Bill,” said Lira, while adding, “He (Sen. Negron) did not receive any flak.”

Without the Medicaid expansion under the AHCA, states will continue to foot the health care bill of those uninsured patients. And that cost, according to Smith, is higher than it would be under Medicare.

“People will still get sick and go to the hospital,” said Smith.  “And we’ll pay for it with taxes.  That money comes directly from all of us to pay for uninsured health care.

“Medicaid expansion would pay for their health care.  That’s $51billion they turned down and that makes no sense at all,” concluded Smith.



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