A pair of Democratic state lawmakers have introduced joint resolutions for the 2018 legislative session that propose an amendment to the Florida constitution to expand Medicaid coverage through the Affordable Care Act. The proposals, from Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana and Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, would have to be approved by at least 60 percent of voters in a ballot referendum next fall.
The move aims to expand access to healthcare coverage to the roughly 800,000 Floridians who currently fall into the ‘coverage gap.’ That mean they earn too little to qualify for a subsidy on plans offered through the federal health insurance marketplace, but earn too much to be considered eligible for Medicaid. Florida lawmakers have resisted efforts to expand eligibility requirements for Medicaid since the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed in 2010. We’ll hear from the lawmakers behind the Medicaid expansion proposal and get additional analysis from Adam Searing with the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute and from Scott Darius of the patient advocacy group Florida Voices for Health.
Plus, families that depend on the Children’s Health Insurance program, or CHIP, for health coverage are facing growing uncertainty about their future access to care, amid Congress’s continued inaction on passing a funding reauthorization bill. Congress initially missed that deadline in September. Now, CHIP programs in states across the country, including Florida, could soon run out of money. CHIP programs provide access to care for some nine million low-income children and 370,000 pregnant women annually and Florida has the fourth largest CHIP program in the nation. We’ll explore what the impact could be if Congress fails to reauthorize funding for CHIP early next year.