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Will Florida decide to accept federal Medicaid money?

By Staff | Jan 15, 2014

Rick Scott

Some 800,000 Floridians, many in Southwest Florida in places like Lehigh Acres, are spending the first weeks of 2014 not knowing if they will have access to health care insurance coverage under a Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.

The expanded Medicaid coverage is meant to bridge the gap for people who are too poor to qualify for insurance under federal law, but don’t qualify for state Medicaid.

Previously, Gov. Rick Scott had publicly stated he would support an expansion, but recently he’s been noncommittal on his position, as he was recently with a group of reporters.

He was asked if he still believes the state should take advantage federal funding and expand Medicaid coverage.

“There’s 300,000 families or individuals who were told they’re going to lose their insurance at the end of December. That’s the biggest issue we’re dealing with right now,” Scott said.

The Adams Street Project- an effort by Progress Florida and Florida Watch Action asked the question of the governor while he was at a public appearance.

Many state Republican leaders have said they want to turn down the $51 billion in federal funds instead of participating in what they believe is a flawed federal program the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare.

Leah Barber-Heinz, CEO of Florida CHAIN a group dedicated to increasing access to affordable health care in Florida, said she and other groups aren’t giving up hope that the governor will come through on his initial commitment to the expansion.

“The governor has an opportunity to make sure that people have access to affordable health coverage and so many for the very first time, so we think it’s extremely important to keep up the fight and continue to advocate for this, no matter how long it takes,” she said.