Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Business

Business coalitions warn Florida's failure to expand Medicaid will hurt them

TALLAHASSEE — Two business-backed health insurance coalitions sent a warning signal Wednesday to Florida's employers about the effects of rejecting Medicaid expansion for the uninsured.

In a nutshell: Brace yourselves, this is bad for business.

They argue that if lawmakers continue to turn away an estimated $51 billion in federal money to pay for expanding Medicaid coverage, companies will restrict growth, businesses will flee to states with more competitive health insurance markets and any company left standing that pays for health insurance will see its premiums rise as hospitals and doctors shift losses to them.

"It will further the upward pressure of the cost shift to the commercially insured patients,'' said Bill Kramer, health care policy expert from the Pacific Business Group on Health in a conference call with reporters. The coalition represents large businesses in 50 states — including the Walt Disney Co., Target, Walmart, Boeing and Wells Fargo. In other words, health care reform won't reduce costs for employers and employees in Florida; instead, it will increases costs, they said.

Florida lawmakers adjourned in early May without taking action on drawing down the federal Medicaid money. They have until Jan. 14 to decide.

Meanwhile, House Speaker Will Weatherford and Senate President Don Gaetz have been touring the state for post-session town hall meetings and have said they have no plans to address Medicaid expansion soon.

"It's really frustrating to see there hasn't been any discussion,'' said Karen van Caulil, president of the Florida Health Care Coalition, which represents some of the state's largest businesses, in a conference call organized by the League of Women Voters.

Kramer said large employers want states such as Florida to accept the federal offer and that business groups are ramping up efforts to get the word out in time to persuade legislators to change course.

The Affordable Care Act assumed that all states would expand Medicaid rolls and the number of uninsured would shrink, Kramer said, so the federal government is phasing out the funds for uncompensated care.

That will work in the 24 states that are moving forward with plans to expand Medicaid, Kramer said. But in the 20 states, including Florida, that have rejected Medicaid expansion, the cost of uncompensated care won't shrink and will be borne by large employers.

So while the Affordable Care Act was designed to reduce the cost of health insurance by insuring more people, in states that reject Medicaid expansion, Kramer said, the opposite will happen.

"For most business, this is not a political issue,'' he said. "Most businesses are very pragmatic. They are very concerned that if Medicaid is not expanded, there will be this continuing cost shift to employers and employees."

Comments
Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Career Q&A: Disillusioned with grind of telecommute

Q: I have become very disillusioned with my telecommuting job. I accepted this position about a year ago because I liked the idea of working from home. However, I now have so many assignments that I can barely keep up. I was recently given a huge pro...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

Pinellas County commits $41.7 million to Blue Jays Stadium

DUNEDIN — The Pinellas County Commission pulled the final trigger Tuesday on dedicating $41.7 million in bed taxes for upgrades to the Toronto Blue Jays’ stadium and spring training facilities, a pledge that amounts to covering more than half of the ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida’s small businesses need more skilled workers, survey says

Florida small business owners say their top concern is a lack of skilled workers, according to a recent survey by the Florida Chamber of Commerce. Workforce quality has been a recurring issue for small businesses, according to previous surveys. In th...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

Marriott CEO: Our three-hotel bet at Water Street Tampa reflects how Tampa is evolving

TAMPA — The world’s biggest hotel company already has 29 properties in the Tampa Bay area, but its CEO says a plan to put more than 1,400 rooms in three Marriott-branded hotels within a few blocks of each other says something about how Tampa is evolv...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

Study ranks Florida No. 8 for most aggressive drivers

If you’ve ever complained about other motorists on the road, you may have been justified. The Sunshine State ranked No. 8 on GasBuddy.com’s list of states with the most aggressive drivers."Our findings indicate that states with densely populated citi...
Updated: 11 hours ago
First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

First curbside delivery, now Amazon leaves packages with no one in the car

Amazon is taking the growing curb-side delivery trend a step further — now shoppers don’t even have to be inside their cars to get their items.The online retailer announced Tuesday it has begun delivering packages to newer cars with OnStar service in...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

Ex-Yahoo paying $35M to settle SEC charges over 2014 hack

WASHINGTON — The company formerly known as Yahoo is paying a $35 million fine to resolve federal regulators’ charges that the online pioneer deceived investors by failing to disclose one of the biggest data breaches in internet history. The Securiti...
Published: 04/24/18
The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

The ‘most interesting man in the world’ will be tending bar in Tampa on Friday

"Stay thirsty, my friends," the most interesting man in the world is coming to Tampa to tend bar on Friday. Jonathan Goldsmith, the face that launched a thousand memes, will be slinging cocktails at Tampa’s trendy Hall on Franklin, the food hall anno...
Published: 04/24/18
So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

So far, Pasco’s tourism base: Floridians, Canadians

NEW PORT RICHEY – The typical tourist in Pasco County this year most likely is a Floridian.But there are lots of Canadians here as well. Nearly 80 percent drove, rather than flew, to the region. Forty percent stayed in hotels, but more than a quarter...
Published: 04/24/18
Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

Girls hockey could replace boys lacrosse on Pasco tourism calendar

NEW PORT RICHEY – Hockey pucks could replace lacrosse balls as the required sports equipment for the holiday tourism season in Wesley Chapel.The Wickenheiser World Female Hockey Festival, founded by Canadian hockey player Hayley Wickenheiser, is seek...
Published: 04/24/18