In Medicaid Expansion Fight, Florida Senate Democrats Claim Victory

Feb 20 • 364 Views • View Comments

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Tallahassee, FL – Following Governor Rick Scott’s announcement that he is in favor of expanding Medicaid, State Senator Eleanor Sobel (D-Hollywood) praised the decision as a monumental win for Floridians.

“This important choice by the Governor will save lives in Florida. I am glad that he has followed the advice that Democrats, under the leadership of Sen. Chris Smith (D-Ft. Lauderdale), have given him throughout this process and is doing the right thing. By expanding Medicaid, over 1.2 million uninsured Floridians will have access to vital health care,” said Sen. Sobel.

The Governor’s announcement came shortly after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services conditionally approved Florida’s Medicaid managed care waiver that would expand the program to the entire state.

Sen. Sobel added, “While we will reserve judgment until we see how the expansion is implemented, it is comforting to know that this plan, under the Obama Administration’s rule on essential health benefits, will cover emergency services, maternity care, doctor and hospital visits, as well as mental health and substance abuse. This plan will sustain the parameters of the original five county pilot that requires HMOs to spend 85 cents of every dollar on health care services. Furthermore, this is great for Florida’s economy, as it is projected to add over 71,000 jobs by 2016.”

Current estimates show that Medicaid expansion in Florida would generate an $8.9 million boost to the State’s economy.

Sen. Sobel has concerns with Gov. Scott’s choice to sunset Medicaid expansion in three years in order to reevaluate the program. “Someone with a life-threatening medical condition should have the assurance that if the State is providing them care, they will still have access to medical treatment beyond three years.”

It is now up to the Florida House and Senate to decide how Florida will proceed. Looking to the future, Sobel also stated, “I strongly urge my colleagues in the Legislature to expand Medicaid to the neediest individuals in the state.”



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