Medicaid Expansion, Looking to the Future
A new report finds Florida will lose out more than any other state for not expanding medicaid. Studies show the state will miss out on 66- billion dollars in medicaid funding from the federal government. This means more than a million Florida residents still can't afford the federal healthcare coverage the state has approved.
Today, the working poor can't afford federal health care coverage, and they still don't qualify for the traditional medicaid coverage since they earn more than the poverty level. One man who is a part of this group says, "there's no affordable way to, to get care that people need." John David Feldman is one of more than one million Floridians who can't afford federal healthcare but still don't qualify for medicaid.
According to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Urban Institute, Feldman could have afforded coverage if florida had accepted the federal government's medicaid expansion program. Now more than ever, Feldman says he needs help, saying "They found an enlargement in my heart, and i'm not able to finish the, the testing that i need to get done."
But Feldman adds coverage would still be costly even with the medicaid expansion, with a monthly plan costing up to a hundred dollars. Some Democrats plan to bring it up in the next legislative session. State Representative Clovis Watson, Jr. says, "I hope that the democrats and republicans can come together with some compromise to work to accept this fifty one billion dollars that will boost the economy, that will help the medically under-served."
while State Representative Watson says taking federal dollars is the only way to help the uninsured, Republicans say they have other plans for the upcoming legislative session. State Senator Rob Bradley says, "providing healthcare services has always been a partnership between the state and federal government, but the federal government cannot continue to just dictate an obamacare style fashion of one size fits all health care system."
State Senator Bradley says medical coverage cannot be a one- size fits all program but should be based individual lifestyle choices. In the meantime, hospitals and people with insurance, along with state funds, bear the cost of medical
expenses for the uninsured. Edward Jimenez, interim CEO of UF Health Shands says, "We have an obligation to provide an equal level of care to everybody that we see, so as an industry of safety net hospitals, we think about the risk because there isn't this long term solution."
For now, people like Feldman are trying different things to raise money to pay their bills. Feldman says, "I've got a indigogo page, and i did a preliminary
fundraiser, and i didn't get enough money, so i'm trying to raise a little bit more." The federal government has granted Florida a one year waiver for safety net hospitals like shands, which would give funds to help with uninsured patients, but it plans to phase out this funding by the end of the year.
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