CONTACT: Mark Hollis
HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERS ENDORSE BIPARTISAN PLAN TO EXPAND HEALTH COVERAGE FOR FLORIDIANS
Democrats Support Fasano Amendment To HB 7169
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Today, in hopes of ending legislative stalemate on a major priority for Floridians, House Democratic Caucus leaders have taken the extraordinary step of endorsing a Republican-drafted bipartisan plan to expand healthcare coverage.
Members of the House Democratic Caucus leadership team have agreed to co-sponsor and encourage support for a new amendment by Rep. Mike Fasano (R-New Port Richey) that rewrites a House health insurance bill (HB 7169) to match a Senate plan sponsored by Sen. Joe Negron (SB 1816).
The language in the new amendment carries strong bipartisan support in the Florida Senate and has the apparent backing of a wide swath of interests, including health care advocates, the business community, medical providers, Republican Governor Rick Scott and others. The amendment would accept $51 billion of federal aid over a 10-year stint to provide private insurance to 1 million Floridians.
With roughly 1 in 5 Floridians lacking health coverage, House Democratic leaders are seeking bipartisan action this legislative session to expand health coverage in a manner that continues Florida’s state-federal partnership to save lives, increase prevention and wellness care, create much-needed quality jobs throughout Florida, and bring Florida’s tax dollars to work in our state.
The bipartisan amendment was filed this afternoon and is expected to be discussed during House floor deliberations on HB 7169, which will likely happen on Thursday and Friday.
Among those who have agreed to co-sponsor the Fasano amendment are: Democratic Leader Perry Thurston (D-Fort Lauderdale), Democratic Leader Pro Tempore Mia Jones (D-Jacksonville), Democratic Speaker-designate Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), Democratic Floor Leader Jim Waldman (D-Coconut Creek), Democratic Policy Chair Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach), Democratic Whip Alan Williams (D-Tallahassee), as well as Reps. Joe Gibbons (D-Hallandale Beach), Janet Cruz (D-Tampa), and Elaine Schwartz (D-Hollywood).
House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston provided the following statement:
“Floridians are counting on this Legislature to behave in bipartisan fashion to address a crisis of too many residents lacking health coverage,” said Thurston. “We are at the cusp of opportunity that should not be missed because of ideological obstacles. I strongly urge all my colleagues to join in support of the sensible bipartisan solution offered by Representative Fasano to ease the crisis of uninsured Floridians.”