Center Calls Failure to Accept Obamacare Money 'Fiscally Irresponsible'
Around the State
The Florida Legislature took a ringing left to the chin Friday from a major national research center in anticipation of adjourning without passing legislation that accepts the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid option.
Joan Alker, executive director of the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families, issued this statement:
“It is disappointing that ideology trumped pragmatism as the Florida House of Representatives insisted on holding the health and well-being of Florida families hostage to politics.
"This is especially unfortunate because Florida has more uninsured adults than any other state but Texas. Yet, the impact of this decision reverberates beyond the 1 million uninsured Floridians who stood to gain Medicaid coverage. The House’s intransigence is fiscally irresponsible as well. Our November 2012 study found, and Governor (Rick) Scott now concurs, that accepting federal funding to cover more uninsured people would have saved the state money.
"Florida’s hospitals will continue to face mounting unpaid medical bills from uninsured patients who would have been covered if the House had accepted the compromise plan approved by the Senate. Many of the businesses that anchor Florida’s economy will be put at a competitive disadvantage by this failure to act as they will face higher payments for uninsured workers.
"Most importantly, however, uninsured Floridians will have to continue to go without access to preventive and primary care that would accompany Medicaid coverage. Instead, they will continue to show up in the ER when they get sicker due to untreated conditions and have nowhere else to turn to for health care. This is not a wise use of taxpayer dollars."
The Center for Children and Families (CCF) of the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute is listed as an independent, nonpartisan policy and research center "dedicated to expanding and improving health coverage for America’s children and families."
Researchers have estimated that for the first three years, 800,000 to 1.3 million uninsured Floridians would gain health coverage with no net cost to the state if Florida chose to exercise the option to extend Medicaid coverage to residents with incomes at or below 133 percent.
For the first time, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, implied Tuesday he might be open to accepting federal money. “You never say ‘never’ in this business, I’ve learned that,” he replied when asked about his willingness to accept some federal aid as part of a House alternative to Medicaid expansion.