Bill Nelson has “secret plan” for Medicaid expansion, calls for voting fight

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On Wednesday, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson called on Democratic lawmakers to “use every parliamentary mechanism at their disposal” in the struggle for voting rights.

During a visit to Tallahassee the third-term senator, made the comments, as well as suggesting there is a “secret plan” for Medicaid expansion in Florida.

While meeting with House Democrats, Nelson rattled off a laundry list of current controversies over elections in Florida, as well as the decision by Secretary of State Ken Detzner to refuse allowing the University of Florida Reitz Union to become an early voting site during municipal elections.

“Municipal election is one thing,” Nelson said, “but if that is a precursor to the November election, then you start to see what is not so subtle anymore.”

“You start to see the heavy hand of voter suppression, except for the voters that those in power want to be able to vote and to vote conveniently,” he said.

A few minutes later, during a meeting with State Senate Democrats, Nelson said he was working on a solution to the opposition to expanding Medicaid by the Republican-controlled House. Nelson was considering alternatives by Senate Republicans.

Nelson also said he was working “quietly” with the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on his proposal.

“I’m not prepared to talk about this thing that I’m urging CMS to do,” he said, “because all the details are not there, but within the next couple of weeks, hopefully it’s going to be there, and I’ll let you all know just as soon as I get a green light from CMS.”

Afterwards, Nelson called his idea “an iteration” of Medicaid expansion, but didn’t provide further details.

“If the House is intransigent,” he said, “then let’s see if there’s another way to skin a cat”

Nelson added the proposal would require legislative approval, but added he wasn’t sure that was the case.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.