Florida continues it’s battle over Medicaid expansion under the ACA. Over 800,000 Floridians could get covered, but GOP opposition remains strong as the Federal Government pushes Florida toward expansion under Governor Rick Scott… and Rick Scott threatens to sue to Federal Government for “coercion tactics” because of it).

We cover all of that below, but first let’s do a little review of Medicaid expansion and why the GOP in Florida and elsewhere doesn’t like it.

What is Medicaid Expansion and Why Does it Matter?

Under the ACA Medicaid (a public healthcare program to provide free or low-cost coverage to low-income Americans) was supposed to be expanded to all single adults under the 138% Federal Poverty Level starting on Jan 1, 2014. Expansion is covered by the Federal Government at 100% to start and then 90% as time goes on, meaning states don’t have to foot the bill (although taxpayers as a whole do).

This mattered because in many states only parents, expecting or pregnant mothers, children, and sometimes the very poor have access to Medicaid. In many states this leaves working poor adults with no healthcare options (or “in the Medicaid gap” between Marketplace coverage and non-expansion eligibility). This in turn leads to billions of dollars of uncompensated care written off by hospitals (ie billions in lost revenue for states) and of course a lack of access to care for millions of low-income adults.

After a supreme court decision in 2012, states were given the opportunity to opt-out… and opt-out they did. When 2014 hit nearly every state with a Republican Governor at the time (and Vermont) opt-ed out.

Why Did they Opt-Out?

The basic claim by the GOP (including Florida) is that expanding Medicaid is too expensive, Medicaid isn’t good, and big Government isn’t good. It works like this:

  1. They don’t trust the Government to pay their 90% – 100%.
  2. They don’t trust the Government to do a good job with Medicaid.
  3. They don’t trust the Government (please disregard the irony in the fact that this message is literally coming from the Government).
  4. They don’t want higher taxes and more government control. So less safety net, more tax cuts.

To sum it up, it’s really a matter of ideology and confidence (although we argue it should be a matter of healthcare).

All the claims have truth to them. While some states have shown expanding Medicaid to actually improve state budgets, GOP states (like Tennessee have had a history of Medicaid breaking state budgets). Also depending upon the region and doctor payments in the area, Medicaid can really be a “sub-par” coverage type. The experince and ideology differs a bit from state-to-state, but in general Florida’s outlook isn’t much different than the other non-expansion states.

Despite all of this many states have stepped up to the plate and expanded Medicaid under their own alternatives. Something that Florida almost started to do, but pulled back on due to a little head-butting with the Federal Government.

The Florida Medicaid Showdown

So now we get to Florida, and their battle with the Federal Government specifically. Essentially Florida democrats, hospitals, and some conservatives want to pass expansion. However, the majority of Florida conservatives wanted tax cuts attached to the expansion.

When Florida started pulling back on expansion the Federal Government said, “we aren’t going to pay your other Medicaid bills if you don’t expand”, so Florida’s like, “see we knew we couldn’t trust you to pay the bills, and we already covered the fact you can’t force us to do this in the supreme court battle, that is coercion, F this we are suing you.” From there things unraveled into a heated battle.

The thing is, that Florida is a big state, so next to “non-expansion Texas” it is the most important of the 50 states to get on board with expanding Medicaid. No further headway has been made. But we shall keep you updated. In the meantime check out this great explanation of what is going on from the New York Times.

Who is Rick Scott? Rick Scott is an ex-Navy, Florida Governor since 2011, who spent most of his career in the healthcare industry (typically on the venture capitalist side of things). In June 2011, Scott signed a bill requiring those seeking welfare under the federal Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program to submit to drug screenings. He is skeptic of climate change (or as they call it in Florida “…”), stood in the way of preventing gerrymandering (redistricting for the purposes of tampering with elections), and is often tied to Koch brothers backed groups like Americans for Prosperity. He has changed his mind on Medicaid expansion continually since he got into office, sometimes at the disapproval of groups like Americans for Prosperity. Read more about Rick Scott here.

What do you think?

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Virginia Graham on

With the Supreme Court upholds AHC Subsidies…Will Florida now help the people with Medicaid Expansion? Or does the mean man Rick Scott still has the power to hurt the people who need health care? If the mean man from Florida still has the power to deny the expansion can I sue?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

This does not affect Medicaid, just Marketplace subsidies. That being said Florida was a state that had subsidies on the line, so this IS good news for Florida.

I don’t think that you can sue Rick Scott because Florida court rooms are too busy outlawing the use of the word climate change and suing the federal government. (joke)

janette anderson on

rick scott is a nightmare for floridians that fall in the below-poverty level and need medicaid desperately. i’m one of them. i have aca coverage, but my deductible is $45.00 to see a specialist. i have complicated health issues, but i can’t afford the deductible with $879.00 total monthly income. i’ve put off a colonoscopy for 2 1/2 years now, but i desperately need it because i’m having serious problems that could be life threatening to me. i resent rick scott for happily having control of my very life!! i may have to leave this god-forsaken state just to save my very life. i could spit in scott’s face!!!!!!!!

gary raymond on

i am a 51 year old american citizen quote american citizen who recently got a divorce lost his home and vehicle has nothing and lives with his parents who live on a fixed income.i live in florida and from the trauma of all what happen i developed an illness called dys phasia which causes me to live only on liquids cant eat any solid foods at all this has been going on for several months now and i also lost about 80 lbs.went to a local doctor here in palm coast and was told i would have to go to a hospital where a group of doctors would evaluate me so he is trying to get me into shams hospital in gainsville florida with no luck yet this sickness could be fatal.where do i go from here.problem is no medical insurance

Jimmy G on

Why does Rick Scott have control of your life? Because you can’t take of your own life. The minute you can’t fend for yourself, then you depend on others. Depend ONLY on your self, don’t expect others to do it for you.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

True. Also because let us be honest, Florida elected the guy. He isn’t the only option on the table.

Beth on

He only ever got 49% of the vote. Hardly a resounding victory. Many Florida state didn’t and still don’t want him.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Florida is the odd part of the solid south, many transplants and many struggling with poverty, yet just enough Republicans to drown out the voices of those who need help. Frustrating, but some GOP states have expanded so it could happen yet.

workingpoorinfl on

Maybe this is what Rick Scott wants: All the poor people and most of the women to leave FL. Review what he has intruded upon regarding female reproductive rights, he took away reproductive rights which are most important to the working poor, ( a wealthy Floridian could afford to travel to another state for care if needed) and had a big party to celebrate. Look again to his opinions filtered down to Pam Bondi, attorney general. Instead of education or treatment for drug abusers the solution was to deny prescription drugs to those with a genuine medical need in order to function. This was easily done, for example, by moving a drug from it’s designated medical class to a different more restrictive (POLITICALLY DESIGNATED CLASS) limited the number of prescriptions available to allocated to each pharmacy with added unwritten scare tactics.

It is possible if Florida voters did choose to educate themselves and vote….we could all have better lives. It is possible that at another place and time Mr. “I don’t recall” Rick Scott, could be in prison instead of the governor of Florida.

Danielle Griggs on

Medicade is a paid state and paid federal program , therefore it should not deny benefits to women or men who are unemployed and have no minor children at home, annd the woman is not expecting a baby. Medici should be available so all Americans can get health care when they need it. EX if you went to the ER with a broken arm, they might set it. But if you go for a severe back condition, that is acute and severe pain, they can not do an MRI..
Or the follow up on the broken arm., what is the person suppose to do. I lived next to neighbors from out of country that had medicade , discounted rent and food stamps. My son has a severe acute back injury, he gets an x ray, a script in the ER and told to follow up but he has no money and no insurance and no medicade.

Michelle on

Just curious, does it look like Floridians that either work, which I do, or are out of work will be able to get insurance coverage through Medicaid any time soon?
I am employed, my son is now 18 and is disabled and I only bring home 600.00 monthly. Now that my son is considered “legal” I no longer am allowed to have insurance coverage. I have some medical issues which require me to take medications that at this time I can not afford and with out any warning I no longer had coverage. After taking medications for the last few years I have had to not take anything and told “oh well, if you were not a citizen, or if you were pregnant we would cover you”. I am almost 50 and now for the last 4 months I have had something going on and need to see a dr. but how can I? So, I guess I should presume that I have done my job since my son is just 18 and oh well if there is anything life threatening going on because I can not afford any medications or treatment. I just looked up the obamacare for Florida and took the quiz and it told me I do not qualify so I would have to pay full price for coverage. They quote I was given started at 270.00/mth with a 6,800.00 deductable and all medications had to be paid in full until the deductable was met. OK Scott, may God have Mercy on your Soul because ppl like you I hope do not end up in the same place as myself when the time comes. You are an utter disgrace of a human being, a crook and you look like an ugly bag of bones, you make me SICK.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Florida has no plans to expand Medicaid at the moment unfortunately, however they have less strict Medicaid guidelines than other states and have entertained the idea before so they may be one of the next states we see expand.

rick on

Michelle, Ubamacaide has been horrible, but you people cannote get that fact.

steven Fungaroli on

Im on medacade for mental health. What am saposed to do? I don’t understand?

ObamaCareFacts.com on

If you already have full health coverage from Medicaid then you don’t need to do anything.

jim courage on

If I am approved for Medicaid in NY State ansd move to Florida, what do i have to do to get the Florida equivalent to NYS Medicaid? Is the coverage the same? How long does it take to get Medicaid coverage in Florida (in moving from Medicaid in NY State) once you apply? are there any annual costs for medicaid in florida, any deductible for a single person 57 currently on SSD, and any costs for co pays? Thank you,

Rick on

Ubamacaide is a disaster. I have seen people harmed by the malfeasance of this boondoggle.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Why does the right never say “you know, I really can’t stand the subsidization and taxation, but I’m glad tens of millions have coverage”? Do you all not care… or is it just a perspective thing? When I meet conservatives in real life they seem to be caring, but on internet comments and TV it is like they don’t care about their fellow humans.

Not that everyone has to say “all the people it helps aside” before they complain, but…

JJ on

I think that Rick Scott should be removed from office; he seems to be protecting his own interests, using his position to keep making millions for himself, and probably his friends, instead of helping the poor people who need Medicaid.

There’s definitely conflict of interest proof to get him out of office. He doesn’t want to expand medicaid because it would hurt his pocket.
It also seems that everything he approves is to further his own interests.

Jeanie on

This is crazy. I’m 25 year old female who works a part-time job and takes care of my parents. I make maybe $16,000 a year and when I applied for Obama care I got exempt because of Florida. They offered me a “affordable” package of $150 a month because I don’t qualify for Medicaid because I don’t have children. Should I go get pregnant Rick Scott so I can go to the doctor?

Michael Grace on

I wouldn’t trust the Federal Government either. Have you seen the national debt? How does the Federal Government intend to pay the states? Oh, the tax payers, that’s right. So, the Obama Administration is mad because Republicans won’t allow the federal government to bill the tax payers for a plan we all know can’t and won’t sustain itself….

Darn those nasty Republicans for not supporting a pipe dream.

ObamaCareFacts.com on

Can’t fully argue with concerns over cost, but I can’t see how you all are just comfortable letting people die in the streets based on income. Florida could be proposing an alternative Medicaid plan or helping to reform the program rather than just folding their arms and citing cost over and over again.

Mark on

Don’t you agree part of Florida not expandin is because of the high number of illegals that would get on medicaid and then the working people would be paying for non Americans

Erin on

Illegally present people are not eligible for Medicaid except in a few state’s that chose to cover them (like California), otherwise, they only qualify if they are severally disabled and that is the case even if the state has not expanded Medicaid. It was a part of the original Medicaid. The ACA doesn’t provide cost assistance or Medicaid to those who aren’t lawfully present, but Medicaid is state administered, so some states have chosen to do so.

pc729 on

I’ve been trying to get Medicaid for years but I’m a single low income earning female without children. I legitimately need this help. I am a recovering addict & have not been able to see my doctor for follow ups. My boyfriend is an actual addict & he’s now homeless. I rent a room in someone else’s home & I can’t let him stay there. He needs medical attention ASAP but Florida’s GOP won’t allow it fearing it will destabilize the always destabilized budget. Even homeless shelters are turning him away because they say they are filled to capacity. So what am I supposed to do? Watch him die?

Jena Montgomery on

I hurt myself on the job 12/27/2013. I have had surgery on my lower back. The surgery hasnt helped with the constant pain. Point being, I am no longer able to work. I have applied for disability and have been denied a couple of times already, still appealing. I am no longer able to commit to a job when I am in constant pain. Why am I not eligible for medicaid? I have applied and have been denied. I have absolutly no income. I am on the verge of being homeless. I feel this is just wrong. I have been a productive member of society for almost 30 years before my accident. It is a shame that because I dont now how to “work” the system, I cant get any help, unlike all this trash that come from other contries have done nothing but learn how to get our benefits….Can anyone help me?

connie jones on

We need Medicaid in Florida!! The poor have no access for coverage for mental health services, dental services, physical therapy, nor chiropractic care. There is no help for those of us who need glasses, I personally have 925/eye and can barely read this article because I can’t pay for the lenses i need. I need all the above services in order to have a chance of becoming a productive member of society again after an illness and loss of house. I know I am not alone…this keeps the ones who need help the most HELPLESS!! SOME OF US DO NOT HAVE FAMILY OR RICH FRIENDS TO ASSIST. Florida needs to get it together soon or all my hope to live will be gone.

Jessica on

Trying to avoid being penalized for not having insurance a coworker asked me today…. If an individual is enrolled in Medicaid Share of Cost within their state does that person need to have other insurance coverage so they don’t get attacked come tax return time?!

donald on

Americans for Prosperity is nothing more than a phony front group of the RW Koch Brothers who are staunch Libertarians; and, are just a few Societal Laws or Rules away from Anarchy. AFP derive a great deal of money from preaching the Libertarian Gospel.The Group has a hidden agenda; which it never reveals.

donald larson on

Americans for Prosperity is nothing more than a phony front group of the RW Koch Brothers who are staunch Libertarians; and, are just a few Societal Laws or Rules away from Anarchy. AFP derive a great deal of money from preaching the Libertarian Gospel.The Group has a hidden agenda; which it never reveals.

Donald Larson on

Americans for Prosperity is nothing more than a phony front group of the RW Koch Brothers who are staunch Libertarians; and, are just a few Societal Laws or Rules away from Anarchy. AFP derive a great deal of money from preaching the Libertarian Gospel.The Group has a hidden agenda; which it never reveals Read Jane Mayer’s new Book: “Dark Money;” for considerable more information.

Michelle Andre on

I think this is total bull..I had share of cost medicaid up until my daughter turned 18 as of this year in August. I have spent hours on line and on the phone with several insurance agency’s trying to get coverage for myself. Ive also tried getting more hours at work to afford coverage but there aren’t any hours available at the moment. I have to see the Doctor once a month or at least every 3 months to fill my prescriptions, one of them being high blood pressure, cholesterol and some others for anxiety and depression just so that I can make it to work in the right state of mind.. I have had no luck with finding anything I can afford that is a reasonable plan..I’m frustrated and outraged at this because Obama care was suppose to help Americans all over but then our Govenor Rick Scott screwed a lot of us by denying Medicaid coverage for a certain group basically the mid aged adults with either no children or children who age 18 and over. am i just suppose stop all medications and not beable to worlk? if thats the case guess II will have to apply for disability to support my daughter. Thanks Govenor Scott you’ll never get my vote.

Gerald Anderson on

Ric Scott like all republicans are selfish , care only about the rich and do not think in terms of what is good for society as a whole. They would rather cut taxes for the top one per-cent than help the middle class that’s already shouldering the cost to run this country. Scott should be not only be impeached he should be made to work as an orderly in a state mental health hospital.

Judith Barnett on

Very sad.A woman who was raised in Florida lived in Florida 55 worked in factories and non jobs that are now over seas .high blood pressure supermarket does not charge would fill for free. can not even see the doctor to get RX.must have a stroke and die.My grand children will miss me. you are a very sick man Scott.What goes around comes around.It does no good to E-mail you, or your office if we are not given money we do not matter.No need to expect a call from your office.Stupid is you .More babies more insurance.more high blood pressure more strokes more hospital trips. you know how to make hospitals money yes that is your game.that so concerned look you have is sick we see threw you!!!!

Donna Shields on

I have contributed to Florida taxes (being less wealthy I paid 3x’s more percentage than.. Rick Scott or Donld Trump..ITEP.ORG) my entire life.

According to ITEP’s Tax Inequality Index, Florida has the 2nd most unfair state and local tax system in the country. States with regressive tax struc­tures have negative tax inequality indexes, meaning that incomes are less equal in those states after state and local taxes than before (See Appendix B for state-by-state rankings and more details).

I make 740.00 a month. I contribute to subsidize those more well off under the obamacare subsidies but make too little to receive one.
My cheapest cost would be 400.00 of my 700.00 – JUST FOR my HEALTHCARE(not food – housing- utilities- transport costs.. etc.)
I am refered to my State for help.

Under Rick Scott (who wont accept federal aide for lives but reaches greedily for federal funds for oceanfront home restoration & other WANTS of our State leadership). Under Scott … I make TOO MUCH to be eligible for Medicaid or ANY assistance. I can get 12.00 of food stamps if I go through the application interogations and humiliations.

Here in florida we “privatize and ‘grant’ so much PUBLIC assetts that the poorest taxpayers have bought & invested in for decades. For most of us – these PUBLIC assetts are all we leave to our grandchildren in inheritances. To have them REDIRECTED and REDISTRIBUTED to the PRIVATE sectors and private inheritances of the RICHEST corporate individuals grandchildrens bank accounts is usury-

For so many of us who lived lives that were not priviledged or inherited .. this greed and abuse of the poor and old is torture – against ALL that we have fought and lived for. It is confusing and angering which seems to be fine with our “leadership in florida” – they have great health insurance thanks to the poorest of our State . Remembering the bible (as our politicians pull HATE quotes from the Bible they forget the parts about the poor and the widows contributions)

Rick Scott has lost families their loved ones … while we pay the cost of his own top line health insurance. Perhaps it is time for ALL ameticans to find their way through the hoops of health. ALL government workers should have to (on their own time) health insurance and make THEIR OWN choices based on THEIR lives. Buy THEIR own policies and deal with their corporate needs in the same way the poor and common people do.