Medicaid Expansion

Hon. Representative Artiles’s comments on Medicaid expansion: The Florida House has made a principle decision to take a very cautious and deliberate approach to implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to change health insurance plan benefits and costs for Florida consumers. While I support a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, Medicaid expansion is the wrong approach to strengthening that net.

Nothing should give our State more pause in this debate than the Obama Administration’s attempt to force Florida to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in order to receive Low Income Pool funding, a separate issue onto itself. It is unthinkable that the federal government would leave our State on the hook for over a billion dollars simply because they want a specific policy outcome. Further, the expansion proposed eliminates Florida’s discretion in choosing the population, benefit design, price, and eligibility conditions to qualify for Medicaid. In fact, it goes beyond traditional Medicaid populations of vulnerable people, like low-income children, the disabled, and the elderly.

Lastly, just because a person has Medicaid does not mean they will have better health. The only scientific study of Medicaid in the country found that Medicaid patients’ clinical outcomes are no better than the uninsured.

The Legislature will continue to listen to new ideas. I believe we should strengthen our safety net by continuing to find new and better market-based solutions that are sustainably funded and will provide Florida families and seniors with access to quality, affordable healthcare.