Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Supporters of expanding Medicaid rally in St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG — As the new health marketplaces began Tuesday, about four dozen people rallied along St. Petersburg's waterfront to urge the state Legislature to bring more poor people into the ranks of the insured.

The Affordable Care Act intended to cover the poor by expanding the Medicaid program, and allocated funds to do that. But Florida is among the states rejecting that offer, leaving about a million poor people as they are now, relying on free clinics and hospital emergency rooms for care.

Uninsured people who use emergency rooms for basic care create a "hidden tax'' on businesses and citizens who do buy health insurance, said Ann Drake McMullen, representing the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

"This will make Florida less competitive than the states that are removing the hidden tax,'' McMullen said.

Government "invests in steel and mortar capital,'' said Manuel Sykes, president of the St. Petersburg NAACP. "We need to invest in human capital in order to maintain it.''

One in four Floridians lack health care. With economists estimating that thousands of new jobs would result from a Medicaid expansion, the idea is supported by Gov. Rick Scott, the health care industry and Associated Industries of Florida.

But the Legislature, which controls Medicaid rules, has balked. Some lawmakers said the cost of Medicaid expansion will exceed projections. Others said the state should have more flexibility to keep out childless adults, who would gain new coverage under the Medicaid expansion.

The League of Women Voters organized the rally, held under shady oaks with red, white and blue signs. A handful of onlookers biking or strolling through the park stopped to listen.

"This is not a political issue. This is just math,'' said Karl Nurse, chairman of the St, Petersburg City Council and a small business owner. "Let's just solve this problem and leave the ideology at the door.''

Supporters of expanding Medicaid rally in St. Petersburg 10/01/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 5:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Deputies: Tampa man killed after car strikes tree

    Accidents

    TOWN 'N COUNTRY — A 24-year-old man was killed early Sunday after he lost control of his car, causing it to hit a pine tree.

  2. O.J. Simpson had a 'conflict-free life'? Not really, not in Florida

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — When O.J. Simpson told a Nevada parole board last week that he's led a "conflict-free life," he seemed to overlook a few episodes that had him cycling in and out of courtrooms and jail cells for nearly 20 years before the Las Vegas hotel-room heist that sent him to prison in 2008.

    Former NFL football star O.J. Simpson appears via video for his parole hearing at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nev., on Thursday, July 20, 2017.  Simpson was granted parole Thursday after more than eight years in prison for a Las Vegas hotel heist, successfully making his case in a nationally televised hearing that reflected America's enduring fascination with the former football star.  [The Reno Gazette-Journal via AP]
  3. Baby Charlie protesters to rally as hospital reports threats

    World

    LONDON — Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment are planning a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats.

    Reverend Patrick Mahoney from Washington DC, centre, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice in London, as he joins other Charlie Gard supporters, Sunday July 23, 2017. Protesters who want critically ill British baby Charlie Gard to receive an experimental medical treatment gathered for a rally and prayer vigil Sunday, while hospital officials say emotions are running so high in the heart-breaking case they have received death threats. [Associated Press]