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Florida Legislature opposes Gov. Rick Scott on Medicaid expansion

4:22 PM, Mar 11, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida -- The Florida Legislature makes it clear that it will oppose Gov. Rick Scott on the question of expanding Medicaid.

On Monday, a Senate committee voted against an expansion of Medicaid under President Obama's Affordable Care Act.

Last week, a House committee led the way in the Legislature's opposition to the idea.

The proposal would provide health coverage to about a million uninsured Floridians. It would cost the state an estimated $5 billion over the next decade, while opening the door to about $50 billion in federal health care payments.

Gov. Scott wants to try the Medicaid expansion for three years, but Republican lawmakers argue Medicaid is broken and should not be expanded.

Kathleen Voss testified before the Senate Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. She pleaded with senators to expand Medicaid because it has helped her so much with a debilitating health problem.

"Because of Medicaid, I've been able to get consistent health care. I have wonderful Medicaid doctors. I'm able to get medicine and I'm able to function because of the Medicaid program. I respectfully ask this committee to please expand Medicaid."

Michael Rosenthal told the committee the proposal would make a million Floridians dependent on the government.

"Medicaid should not be expanded because Medicaid is bad for patients. They have worse outcomes and higher death rates than even those who are uninsured. So if you vote to expand Medicaid, more Floridians will die."

Now Republican lawmakers are talking about developing their own health care proposal, perhaps modeled after Arkansas. That plan would allow people to buy private health insurance with federal cash.