Florida is in the minority of states when it comes to expanding health care to the working poor. Floridians say the state needs to expand benefits so more people can receive life saving healthcare.
Uninsured Floridians like Nikki Hall are meeting with navigators to sort out questions on health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. “I had absolutely no clue about how to even go about maneuvering my way throughout it, so this has been a big help, a large help, shed a lot of light on a subject I had no clue about.”
Navigator Jasmine Burney says it’s essential for Floridians to sign up for coverage. “Its extremely important for people to get set up and aligned and enrolled in healthcare simply because there is a penalty that will be associated in the event that they do not enroll for the March 31 deadline.”
27 states are already expanding Medicaid, three are considering it. Florida killed the expansion last year, but some lawmakers will try again this year.
Lawmakers are pushing to expand Florida’s Medicaid program. It resembles a 2013 bill that passed through the Senate, but failed to make it out of the House.
The 2013 expansion would have insures 900-thousand Floridians, paid for with 52 billion dollars from the federal government. A skeptical Governor Rick Scott suggested taking the money for three years, then deciding against. “The question is, is the federal government gonna fund what they said their gonna fund?”
Those signing up for coverage say healthcare is critical for people’s livelihood.
Amy Datz is one of those who already signed up for healthcare. “I’m sure there are people today who are going to die who don’t have healthcare or don’t feel comfortable going in because they can’t afford it. It’d wipe them out.”
A University of Florida research estimated an expansion would create more than 100-thousand jobs.
Representative Amanda Murphy is the lawmaker introducing this year’s Medicaid expansion bill.