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Florida House Won't Cave on Medicaid Expansion

May 28, 2015 - 2:45pm

If you're waiting for the Florida House to hoist the white flag, pull up a comfortable chair. You'll be awhile.

The new FHIX Senate Plan is still unacceptable to the bulk of the House majority. It's still Medicaid expansion, it still doesn't address cost drivers and Speaker Steve Crisafulli still doesn't see much in it to like.

There might be 10 House Republicans feeling the heat from their purple districts -- maybe -- making a show of taking a closer look at the Senate revision. But in the end, don't expect many of these guys to vote against House resistance.

Crisafulli issued a statement Tuesday about the new version of FHIX. It took him a while -- mistakenly interpreted by some in the media as the beginning of a House-team capitulation. Which is why I mention this now. 

The House will never climb aboard the Senate's expansion train. 

Nor can anyone I know imagine Crisafulli and House Appropriations Chair Richard Corcoran wussily backing away and leaving FHIX to the governor's veto. 

"The new version of FHIX still requires a waiver from the inflexible federal government and adds new elements to that waiver request, a request we know will never be approved," the speaker said in his statement.

"When you remove the Senate’s 'conservative guardrails' that the Obama administration fundamentally opposes, all you are left with is a costly and inefficient entitlement program to serve able-bodied working age adults with no children. We would be far better off," Crisafulli insisted, "if Washington, D.C., would allow Florida to create our own plan."

Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, chairman of the House Health and Human Services Committee, explained why the Senate plan is unacceptable in a May 17 oped in the Orlando Sentinel. If by any chance you haven't read it already, take this opportunity. Click here.

As Brodeur explains, the House didn't draw a line in the sand on Medicaid expansion merely for petulance and principle. It's for principle and paying for it. "Their (Senate) plan will not help end the cycle of dependency on welfare, but will perpetuate it," Brodeur writes. "The Senate will try to tell you its plan is a pathway to ending Medicaid. But spending another $5 billion to $6 billion a year on a program that currently costs $23 billion is growth, not extinction."

Ultimately, it's the state that must pay.

The House got a powerful boost in the effort to explain its point of view when Florida Roundtable, through a website of the same name, released a video ad via YouTube called "Florida Deserves Better." The ad can be seen below. It's only a minute long -- just click on it.

What the ad represents is the House fighting back. Florida Roundtable is actually registered with the Florida Division of Elections as a political committee, with Rep. Richard Corcoran as its chairman.

Some of the facts in the ad are undeniably stunning, not the least of which is the one stating, "big corporate hospitals" took in $3 billion in profit last year, greater than the worth of any sports league in America, greater even than the worth of all of the teams in the National Football League. Ouch. That's profits we're talking about -- bloat -- what you might call largesse for a lot of somebodies -- not just the cost of doing business.

Also, not everybody realizes that the working poor and Florida's children are already covered by Medicaid. The expansion is for "single, working age, able-bodied adults with no kids ... who don't work."

Expect this video to supercharge House majority members and get a lot of play in communities far from Tallahassee between now and June 20. 


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