Florida Rejects Medicaid Expansion

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Despite Governor Rick Scott’s endorsement of Medicaid expansion back in February, Florida lawmakers adjourned this past Friday, May 3, 2013, after passing a budget that does not include funding for a Medicaid expansion.  If Florida had expanded Medicaid, the federal government would have covered 100% of the costs for three years, 2014 through 2016, and 90% of the cost thereafter.

After Governor Scott endorsed the Medicaid expansion, the House and Senate voted against a straight Medicaid expansion early in the legislative session.  Senator Joe Negron then proposed a bill supported by the Senate and Governor Scott, which would have accepted over $50 billion from the federal government over the next ten years and given it to approximately 1.1 million residents for those residents to use for the purchase of private insurance.

The House resisted a bill that would accept any federal funding and instead passed a bill that would use approximately $237 million in state funds to allow about 115,000 residents at or below the federal poverty line to purchase private insurance.  The House and Senate could not come to a compromise during the legislative session.

As the Washington Post put it, “Florida now joins 24 other states that have either decided against expanding Medicaid, or are leaning in that direction.”  It is unclear whether Governor Scott will call a special session of the legislature to readdress the issue.  What is clear though is that, at this for the time being, Florida will not be expanding its Medicaid program in any respect, regardless of whether the expansion is state or federal funded.