Legislators see little chance for Florida Medicaid expansion

Ed Narain (left), Janet Cruz and Jamie Grant
Florida State Reps. Ed Narain (left), Janet Cruz and Jamie Grant. By Seán Kinane. 9 December 2015.

State Rep. Jamie Grant (R-Tampa) thinks that Medicaid expansion will be off the table during Florida’s Legislative session that begins in January. For one, Grant says this week’s gambling agreement “sucks a good bit of oxygen out of the time in Tallahassee” to consider other issues. But Grant thinks the legislature will still have time to focus on healthcare issues besides Medicaid despite the differences between the chambers and the political parties.

“I think you’re going to see continued efforts to try and create a freer market for health care.”

Grant was part of a forum in Ybor City Wednesday morning on health care hosted by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative.

State Rep. Ed Narain (D-Tampa) agrees with Grant that there will not be an expansion of Medicaid in the upcoming Legislative session.

“And part of the reasoning for that is political. If we’re going to be very candid here, we have a presidential election coming up next year. And I believe the hope from my counterparts on the other side of the aisle is that there will be a Republican president elected that will find a way to repeal Obamacare as it’s currently enacted and replace that with block grants that will allow the states to do whatever they want to do with the dollars instead. So when you look at it from a political aspect there’s no movement on the traditional health care plan that’s been put in place because there’s political ramifications that could happen, you know, a year from now.”

Narain calls Governor Scott’s investigation of the profits of safety-net hospitals “political theater.”

Rep. Janet Cruz (D-Tampa) says lawmakers and the public will have to continue to fight for public hospitals. Cruz says they are under attack by the House, Senate and Governor Rick Scott.

“They’re looking at public hospitals and the pot of money. And it’s not very far in my opinion from some of the initiative that I saw in the past with the public schools where they’re looking at this big pot of dollars and moving to voucher programs and charter schools. They want to move away from the public hospitals that in my opinion serve the uninsured and the underinsured. But I feel like the move is to privatize and the hospitals are next. I spoke to someone from a hospital the other day and they said, ‘we’re not used to being the bad guys.’ And they’re not. Since when are hospitals the bad guys? But now they’re under attack for profit.”

Here’s video from the forum on health care hosted by the Tampa Bay Healthcare Collaborative, part 1:

Video, part 1:

Video part 3:

Video part 4:

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