Moderate Republicans, Hispanics could swing House position on Medicaid expansion
An excerpt from a story published in Sunday's paper on the House's refusal to accept federal dollars for Medicaid expansion and how Republicans from moderate districts and Hispanics could swing the vote:
TV ads produced by SEIU Florida, a labor union, accuse Rep. Kathleen Peters of "putting politics ahead of working families" in opposing Medicaid expansion.
Peters is among a half-dozen GOP lawmakers being targeted in ads in Democratic-leaning districts, said SEIU Florida President Monica Russo. Russo said they were chosen because they are Republicans who should be most willing to accept federal money.
Peters' district supported President Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink in the 2010.
The problem is, Peters said, she hasn't made up her mind how she'll vote.
"To be just filling the airwaves with tabloid sensationalism when we haven't even taken a vote on that issue to me is shameful," she said.
Other targets include Reps. Manny Diaz Jr. and Erik Fresen in South Florida, Bill Hager and Gayle Harrell on the east coast of the state and Ross Spano in Hillsborough County.
Along with House lawmakers in moderate districts, supporters of expanding Florida's health care system are targeting Hispanic lawmakers who could be swayed.
Polls show that the health care law is popular among Hispanic voters. A January survey by the Florida Hospital Association found that 74 percent of Hispanics supported accepting federal funding, including 56 percent who said they felt strongly. A March poll by business group Associated Industries of Florida found that 60 percent of Hispanics favored Medicaid expansion.
Speaking in both Spanish and English during a press conference last week, Rep. Victor Torres, D-Orlando, said Democratic lawmakers are "fighting for the Hispanic community, for the families, for the children" by insisting the House accept the federal aid.
Torres stood alongside three other Hispanic House members, but no Republicans.