Before last year’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, expansion of Medicaid coverage to those earning less than 133% of poverty, was a mandatory part of the federal healthcare law. States that did not comply faced losing matching federal dollars for the program. However, the Court’s decision has allowed states to opt out of that requirement and Florida is among the 25 states that have chosen not to expand the program.
Federal Health and Human Services officials and other ACA proponents have urged the state to accept the $51 billion in federal money over 10 years to expand Medicaid to the additional roughly one million Floridians who don’t qualify, but are too poor to pay for health coverage through the ACA. They say expanding Medicaid will help lower healthcare costs and create new jobs in the state. However, other economic and health industry experts say expanding Medicaid would end up costing the state an additional $2 billion a year in addition to nearly doubling the cost of private insurance premiums under the ACA within ten years. We’ll explore both sides of the issue.