In 2010, Florida was given the opportunity to expand its Medicaid program to cover over a half million uninsured Floridians.
The federal government will return Florida taxpayer dollars to pay all of the costs of the expansion through 2016. The federal share will then gradually decline to 90 percent in 2020, where it will stay.
Yet, Florida’s lawmakers continue to say NO.
Currently, adults in Florida are not eligible for Medicaid if their income is above 34 percent of the federal poverty line ($6,831 a year for a family of 3).
Under Florida’s program, there is not a single dollar of assistance for health care to families without dependent children, regardless of how low their income may be.
In Florida, there are over half a million people who earn “too much” to qualify for Medicaid but are still living below the poverty line.
At the end of the day, we’re talking about ensuring that working parents, students, vets and over a half million other Floridians have access to the health care they need. Hard working Floridians deserve the security of knowing they can see a doctor when they need to, without facing the fear of enormous medical bills.
Medicaid expansion offers those working at or below the poverty line a sense of security that can go a long way towards a better quality of life.
Benefits Of Closing The Coverage Gap
- Greater Health Security: If Florida expands Medicaid, federal funds will provide quality health coverage to nearly 600,000 hardworking Floridians and strengthen Florida’s economy over the next 10 years.
- Fiscally Responsible: The federal government will pay the full cost of expansion through 2016. The federal share will then gradually decline to 90 percent in 2020, where it will stay.
- Compensating For Care: Medicaid expansion will result in a reduction in uncompensated care costs, patients who could not afford to pay for their care. In 2012, insured Floridians and businesses paid nearly $3 billion in uncompensated hospital care.
- Strenghtening Families: Expanding Medicaid coverage to parents and their children will do more than reduce the number of uninsured, it will boost a family’s financial security and enable children to get better care from healthier parents.
- Helping Businesses and Communities: If more Floridians are covered, Florida business owners will see fewer financial penalties and health care costs will stabilize, allowing employers to invest in their businesses and communities.
Myths About Closing The Coverage Gap
- Florida cannot afford an expansion of Medicaid. Most of the current cost of the Medicaid program is paid by the federal government. Over 10 years, the federal government’s share for extending coverage to nearly 600,000 Floridians is over $50 billion while the state’s share is $3 billion. Extending coverage could save the state billions in General Revenue and $541 million in revenue will flow into local economies each year.
- Extending coverage is not sustainable because we cannot rely on the federal government to keep its funding promise. The funds for states to extend health care have been paid and are earmarked for this program. During the entire history of the Medicaid program, the federal government has always kept its promise and provided matching funds.
- Medicaid is ineffective and produces poor health outcomes. Medicaid’s costs per beneficiary are substantially lower than for private insurance and have been growing more slowly than costs under private employer coverage. Medicaid provides more comprehensive benefits than private insurance at significantly lower out-of-pocket cost to beneficiaries. Numerous studies show that Medicaid has helped make millions of Americans healthier by improving access to preventive and primary care and by protecting against (and providing care for) serious diseases.