advertisement

SSN on Facebook SSN on Twitter SSN on YouTube RSS Feed

4 Comments
Columns

Republicans, Beware Medicaid Expansion-Confused Neal Dunn in CD 2

December 9, 2015 - 10:00am

As a concerned citizen and North Florida voter, I attended the Capital City Republican Club Dec. 2 to hear Dr. Neal Dunn make his case for why Republicans ought to support him over his primary opponent, Tallahassee attorney Mary Thomas

Both are running to unseat Democratic U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. Thomas has repeatedly claimed to be “the only candidate in this race who wants to fully repeal Obamacare.”

While researching the candidates and their respective platforms, my initial inclination was to dismiss this rhetoric as just so much of the usual primary campaign season hyperbole. After all, how could any self-respecting Republican hope to win a primary in North Florida with such an albatross as Obamacare on his political back? Surely, I said to myself, Thomas was misrepresenting the good Dr. Dunn’s position on the matter.

But then I read in several respected media outlets, including Politico, that Dunn, while on the Board of Governors of the Florida Medical Association (FMA), had joined a unanimous vote by that organization’s House of Delegates in July 2014 to endorse Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion in Florida.

As a former journalist, I appreciate the need to get information directly from the horse’s mouth, so I joined fellow Republicans for the luncheon Dec. 2, hoping for the opportunity to get Dr. Dunn to lay out his position on the record. During the Q&A session, I publicly questioned him on his support for Obamacare Medicaid expansion, and he responded that the FMA had only voted to accept $2 billion from the federal government for Medicaid, and only if acceptance of those funds was not conditioned on the state having to set up its own health exchanges.

But I knew something was amiss with this response. Every half-literate politico knows that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion entails not merely the expansion of state expenditures for Medicaid, but an expansion of the pool of eligible patients. Under current law, only low-income pregnant women, children, needy families, the blind, the elderly, and the disabled are eligible for Medicaid. Under Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, anyone with income below 138 percent of the poverty level -- hundreds of thousands of new patients -- would be added to the taxpayer rolls. The conservative Heritage Foundation says this would cost taxpayers more than $4 billion over nine years.

When I asked Dr. Dunn, by way of follow-up, why he would vote to expand this welfare burden on Florida taxpayers, he told me I was wrong when I said Medicaid expansion would add new welfare dependents to the system, and that “the [Medicaid] money was not attached to the patients.” (Don’t take my word for it, you can hear his words for yourself here. Note: I did not make this recording.)

But the FMA’s own Resolution 14-406, which Dr. Dunn voted to support, says that the FMA “will publicly support increased access to health care through insurance coverage available through expanded Medicaid coverage in Florida and/or subsidized health insurance for those under 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Level.”

I don’t know whether Neal Dunn lied to me at that luncheon, or whether he was genuinely ignorant of the contents of the resolution he voted to support. Whichever is the case, I’m not so sure this is the sort of man we North Floridians want representing us in Congress.

Eric Giunta, Sunshine State News’ former chief legal correspondent, is an attorney based in Tallahassee. He can be reached at esgiunta@yahoo.com.

Comments

The referenced Tampa Bay Times article, which is the one quoted by the other new outlets who reported that, is mistaken that the vote was unanimous. Why the author and the respondant would take the word of an "advocacy group that tipped off the media (see the TBT article)," over an FMA member who actually attended the meeting is beyond me. There were many amendments and votes on amendments that occurred that day to get to the final resolution that passed and it only passed after the language to tie support to a bill that increased Medicaid payment to Medicare rates. Something that's never happened. In 2012, 2013, and even 2014 resolutions to expand Medicaid without increased payment to physicians were soundly defeated. Since that resolution passed the FMA has not drafted a bill to expand Medicaid in Florida, nor has it supported any bills to expand Medicaid even at the committee level in the House or Senate. The previous respondant referred to Dr. Dunn as a lobbyist for the FMA. He was Chairman of the Council on Legislation and clearly had a duty to be in Tallahassee to advocate for physicians in this state. It was a service to his profession that took him away from his practice at his own personal expense. Most lobbyist make money doing it, Dr. Dunn and those that serve their profession in that role lose money when they do it. On his watch, the FMA did not advocate to a single House or Senate member to expand Medicaid

1) The press across the US reported the vote by the FMA to expand Obamacare as a unanimous vote. Read this: http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/the-buzz-florida-politics/florida-medical-association-members-back-medicaid-expansion/2190399 2) Dunn has never denied the vote because as a registered lobbyist for the FMA, he was not only carrying their water but lobbying for their unanimous position.

This journalist is sadly mistaken in his references. If you look at his linked article referring to the FMA Resolution 14-406. this links the actions of the House of Delegates of the FMA. There are over 400 members who vote at the annual meeting on these resolutions. I attended the 2014 meeting and I can tell you in no uncertain terms this was not a unanimous vote. There were 2 different resolutions that concerned the expansion of medicaid. They were debated ad nauseum over two days and the resolution that passed was a compromise resolution that has one important caveat that it allowed the Board of Governors leeway to not support Medicaid expansion. Resolution 14-406 only supports medicaid expansion IF it increased physician payments to Medicare rates. No such Medicaid expansion plan exists anywhere in the nation so far. It is an example of how you make some people happy without giving them what they really want. The FMA represents a diverse interest of physician, some of whom are socialists, and the more conservative leaning members allowed this to pass knowing that it had no real meaning. The no catch resolution was 14-405 and it was soundly defeated. 14-406 passed with a clear majority, but it was not unanimous.

Not so bright Leftists!

Comments are now closed.

columns
advertisement
advertisement
advertisement
Live streaming of WBOB Talk Radio, a Sunshine State News Radio Partner.

advertisement
advertisement