Medicaid Expansion Arkansas-Style: Let's at Least Give It a Look
Around the State
All this week the Florida House appeared to close the door on the question of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But on Friday Senate President Don Gaetz reopened it -- just a crack.
Gaetz said he thinks there’s a possibility Florida could pursue an alternative method to expand Medicaid, similar to the one Arkansas is proposing.
Arkansas wants to take the federal cash for Medicaid expansion and use it to buy health coverage for uninsured people from private insurers through a state health exchange.
Gaetz concedes it would be a waste of time and effort for the Senate to develop legislation for an expansion of Medicaid if the House won’t consider it.
But he thinks the issue might find new life with a modified version of Medicaid expansion.
"There possibly might be, and I want to be very, very prudent about this -- could be -- alternatives to Medicaid expansion the way that Obamacare envisions it. Whether or not those are realistic, whether or not they’d be agreed to by the federal government, whether or not they would solve problems here and even be agreeable to the Senate, let alone to the House or the governor is another matter.”
States have the option of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. In Florida, that would mean about an extra 1 million uninsured Floridians would get health insurance.
Gov. Rick Scott supports the idea of expanding the program for three years while the federal government vows to pay 100 percent of the extra costs.
But a House committee voted against the idea this week and House Speaker Will Weatherford has said he adamantly opposes it.
Dave Heller is a Tallahassee freelance reporter/videographer.