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The Florida Legislators must reverse their decision on Medicaid

Roger Caldwell

Roger Caldwell

The Florida Legislators must reverse their decision on Medicaid

By Roger Caldwell

It is now three weeks since Florida lawmakers ended the 2013 Legislative session and there is still no action on the Medicaid expansion program. Congress fully funded the expansion of Medicaid coverage to an estimated one million Floridians with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Democrats, many progressive organizations and Senator Nelson have urged Governor Scott and Florida lawmakers to call a special session and not leave $51 billion on the table.

Florida is at the bottom in healthcare in the country, because our state ranks 50th in uninsured adults, and 48th in the ranking of uninsured children. There is no way that the state’s lawmakers can be proud of these numbers, but it appears that we are satisfied being on the bottom.

Republicans are in full control of the Florida Legislature, and in the Senate 28-12, and in the House 74-46. The Republicans have cut up the state to remain in power, but there are more registered Democrats on the books than Republicans. It is time for all Floridians to put pressure on Governor Scott, his administration, and lawmakers to do the right thing.

Rejecting the Medicaid expansion is morally and ethically wrong and lawmakers must reverse their decisions. It is very easy for our lawmakers to say that they care about the lives of Floridians, but when it comes to demonstrating with action they come up short. The Medicaid expansion would add $2 billion to the Floridian economy annually and add over 55,000 new private sector jobs.

Governor Scott continues to stand quietly on the sidelines and let Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford do the talking for the state. “I don’t know what it would achieve. Unless there was an agreement of what the session would do, calling one doesn’t make sense. We would have to have some agreement on policy, other than drawing down on federal funds,” says House Speaker Weatherford.

It makes no sense that Republican lawmakers are too proud to accept a $51 billion gift from the federal government that will help 1 million Floridians. There is some work involved, but I remember hearing our governor saying “Let’s Get to Work.” Florida is at the bottom in the ranking in healthcare and everyone living in Florida should be embarrassed.

It is time for all Floridians to start calling their representatives and the governor and let them know that the Florida legislature needs to complete their job and call a special session. The squeaky wheel gets the oil, and Floridians must let the governor know we are upset and disappointed with the inability of the legislature to make the right decision on Medicaid expansion.

Financially, morally and ethically the Florida legislature made the wrong decision and Floridians will not rest until the decision is reversed. Florida families are being devastated with no healthcare insurance and the pressure cannot stop. Florida lawmakers and our governor have the opportunity to make life better for Floridians, but at this point they are making cold and callous decisions that hurt all Floridians.


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