1. Opinion

Editorial: House's irresponsible move on Medicaid

Published Mar. 4, 2013

The Florida Legislature does not formally open its 60-day session until today, and already House Republicans have drawn a partisan line against expanding Medicaid. A select committee voted along party lines Monday to not even bother writing legislation that would enable the expansion. This was an arrogant power play by two Pasco County legislators, House Speaker Will Weatherford and committee chairman Richard Corcoran, who are not representing the best interests of their districts or their state on health care reform.

Weatherford and Corcoran repeated the Republican Party line that the federal government cannot be counted on to fulfill the Affordable Care Act's requirements to pay for the Medicaid expansion. The federal law requires Washington to pay 100 percent of the cost of the expansion for three years, then gradually reduces that commitment to 90 percent in future years. This smacks of picking and choosing which federal laws to embrace and which to ignore. The lawmakers also cite sequestration as evidence that Congress cannot be counted upon to prudently manage the nation's finances. That comparison ignores that members of their own party are refusing to act responsibly in Washington and consider a mix of more revenue and spending cuts to reduce the federal deficit.

Corcoran, R-Land O' Lakes, made a number of irresponsible arguments to justify the committee's heavy handed effort to end the debate over Medicaid expansion before the session even starts. He compared relying on the federal government to financing a home with Bernie Madoff, the convicted swindler. He claimed to be looking out for senior citizens in his district, when in fact he is blocking better access to health care for the uninsured. He noted an expected shortage of doctors and health care professionals, which is a challenge to be solved rather than an excuse to turn down billions of federal dollars. The future House speaker didn't mention that the Affordable Care Act encourages primary care doctors to accept Medicaid patients by increasing their reimbursement rate to the same level as the higher rate for treating Medicare patients.

Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, says the House is working on another health coverage solution. But Gov. Rick Scott, who has endorsed the Medicaid expansion, and Senate Republicans cannot allow the House to dictate the terms of the discussion with Monday's hard-line vote. Scott should explain his logical reasoning to accept the federal money in his State of the State speech today, and the Senate should continue its methodical approach to gathering all of the facts and making a pragmatic decision. To leave billions of federal dollars on the table and deprive nearly 1 million Floridians of Medicaid coverage would be fiscally irresponsible and morally indefensible.


  1. This photo provided by Time magazine shows Greta Thunberg, who has been named Time’s youngest “person of the year” on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.   The media franchise said Wednesday on its website that Thunberg is being honored for work that transcends backgrounds and borders.  (Time via AP) [AP]
    Here’s what readers had to say in Saturday’s letters to the editor.
  2. A look at major newspapers' editorials on impeachment [Tampa Bay Times]
    A round-up of excerpts of editorials from across America.
  3. Election day at the Coliseum for St. Petersburg municipal elections. [DIRK SHADD  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    Florida should make it easier, not harder, for voters in 2020, writes a new Florida State graduate.
  4. The manuscript of Florida's constitution from 1885. The current version was revised and ratified in 1968. [Florida Memory]
    The governor wants to give a civics test to high school students. He should aim higher and require one of state lawmakers.
  5. President Donald Trump speaks Thursday during the White House Summit on Child Care and Paid Leave in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) [EVAN VUCCI  |  AP]
    The House has enough reason to justify the impeachment of President Donald Trump.
  6. House Judiciary Committee session during a House Judiciary Committee markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, Pool) [JOSE LUIS MAGANA  |  AP]
    There is a reason Republicans continue to embrace debunked conspiracy theories over Ukraine and the 2016 election, writes a columnist.
  7. Connor Lovejoy, 12, (center left) is pictured with his grandmother Cathy Lovejoy, 57, (center right) who legally adopted him, Coco (left) his therapy dog, Loki, who is a trained service dog (right) and a new kitten named Weasley (center). Connor is diagnosed with autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, intermittent explosive disorder, oppositional defiance disorder (ODD), and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The boy has been taken for mental health evaluations in the back of a police cruiser under Florid'a Baker Act more times than his grandmother can remember. [JOHN PENDYGRAFT  |  Times]
    Too often, the decisions are being made by officers without proper training and without notifying parents first.
  8. Ukraine Nazi concentration camp survivor Petro Mischtschuk, 78 years old, kneels with a red rose in his hand in front of the camp entrance at the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald near Weimar, eastern Germany, in April 2005. [JENS MEYER  |  AP]
    Here’s what readers had to say in Friday’s letters to the editor.
  9. We asked readers the eternal question in polls on Facebook and Twitter. Here are the results.