Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Medicaid expansion key for Florida

The single most important act the Legislature can take this spring to brighten Florida's future is to accept the expansion of Medicaid. Gov. Rick Scott has endorsed the expansion, which would bring billions of federal dollars to the state and provide nearly 1 million uninsured Floridians with health coverage. Republican legislators who share the governor's disdain for the Affordable Care Act should follow his lead, set aside their distaste for the federal law and the Obama administration, and act in the best interest of this state.

It is understandably difficult for Republicans to look beyond their long-held objections to the landmark health care law. But the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the guts of the law, President Barack Obama won re-election and the law is being implemented. If Scott can look beyond his unwavering opposition and conclude accepting the Medicaid expansion is best for Florida, surely Republican state lawmakers can be just as pragmatic.

There is a powerful human argument for accepting the Medicaid expansion. Roughly 4 million Floridians lack health insurance, and the Affordable Care Act offers paths to health coverage for nearly all of them and opportunities for more productive lives. If that is not convincing enough, lawmakers should look at the map and the math for compelling evidence that the Medicaid expansion makes sense:

 

• The federal government would send billions to Florida to cover the entire cost of the Medicaid expansion for three years, then gradually decrease its portion to 90 percent. Floridians are federal taxpayers, and our federal tax dollars will help pay for the Medicaid expansion in other states. Florida already sends more money to Washington for roads and many other services than it gets in return. Why should Florida taxpayers get shortchanged again?

 

• While the Affordable Care Act offers states money to expand Medicaid, it reduces the rate of growth in spending on Medicare. Florida accounts for more than 8 percent of all Medicare spending, so it faces a $58 billion reduction in the future growth of Medicare over the next decade. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion would amount to a double whammy: Billions less than expected for Medicare, but no additional billions for Medicaid.

 

• The Affordable Care Act will significantly reduce the $200 million in federal money that Florida hospitals now receive to help cover the cost of treating the uninsured or under-insured. That money will decline even if the state rejects the Medicaid expansion. It would be foolish to lose so-called disproportionate share money and not lessen the impact with the Medicaid expansion.

 

• Smaller Southern states with Republican governors who are rejecting the Medicaid expansion cannot be compared to Florida. They have fewer uninsured residents, the federal money at stake isn't as much and they don't have as much to lose. In fact, some states already get much more federal money to help cover charity care than Florida does even though they have fewer uninsured.

Scott persuaded the Obama administration to grant permission to privatize Medicaid into a managed care system, studied the financial numbers and endorsed the Medicaid expansion. Senate President Don Gaetz, House Speaker Will Weatherford and their leadership teams have an obligation to make the same honest assessment. If they do the math, it adds up to accepting billions for Medicaid expansion as the only rational course for Florida's economy and the health of its residents.

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Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Editorial: Candor key step to restoring trust at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Heart Institute

Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital has begun the important work of rebuilding trust with its patients and the community following revelations of medical errors and other problems at its Heart Institute. CEO Dr. Jonathan Ellen candidly acknowledges...
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Editorial: Tampa Bay House members fail to stand up to Big Sugar

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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

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Editorial: A sweet note for the Florida Orchestra’s violin program for at-risk kids

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This is music to the ears. Members of the Florida Orchestra will introduce at-risk students to the violin this summer at some Hillsborough recreation centers. For free.An $80,000 grant to the University Area Community Development Corp. will pay for s...
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Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

Trump backs off China tariff threat as China pumps money into a Trump family project

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Editorial: Activism as seniors helps put Hillsborough graduates on the right path

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Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Editorial: Bondi holds drug industry accountable for Florida opioid crisis

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi’s lawsuit against the nation’s largest drug makers and distributors marks a moment of awakening in the state’s battle to recover from the opioid crisis. In blunt, forceful language, Bondi accuses these companies of ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/18/18
Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

Editorial: Johns Hopkins All Children’s should be more open about mistakes

A state investigation raises even more concern about medical errors at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and the venerable St. Petersburg institution’s lack of candor to the community. Regulators have determined the hospital broke Florida law by ...
Published: 05/16/18
Updated: 05/17/18
Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

Editorial: St. Petersburg recycling worth the effort despite cost issues

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Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Editorial: HUD’s flawed plan to raise rents on poor people

Housing Secretary Ben Carson has a surefire way to reduce the waiting lists for public housing: Charge more to people who already live there. Hitting a family living in poverty with rent increases of $100 or more a month would force more people onto ...
Published: 05/15/18
Updated: 05/18/18