On March 23, 2010, the Affordable Care Act was signed into law. It included a mandate for all states to expand Medicaid health care coverage to all individuals and families earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level. It also provided that the federal government would pay 100 percent of the additional cost for the first three years, then gradually reduce its subsidy to 90 percent by the year 2020.
On June 28, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the ACA but struck down the "requirement" for states to expand Medicaid. Florida was one of only 25 states that subsequently refused the Medicaid expansion.
Today, as people sign up for health care in the exchanges, 1 million Floridians fall into what is now being called the Medicaid Gap. These are Floridians who have incomes below 138 percent of the poverty level but are not qualified under the old state requirements to receive Medicaid.
Floridians in the Medicaid Gap cannot afford to pay for healthcare. Not being eligible for Medicaid or subsidies on the exchange, they remain uninsured. Thus, due to politics, we are preventing 1 million Floridians from having any access to healthcare.
This is wrong! No one should be denied access to healthcare simply because of where they live!
Gov. Rick Scott originally refused to expand Medicaid. Now he is saying that he has changed his mind. It is time for all of us to support those 1 million Floridians who are in the Medicaid Gap.
I would like to encourage readers of the Bradenton Herald to either explain why they are against the Medicaid expansion in Florida or to join me in pressing our governor and our Legislature for its acceptance.