Compilation of reaction to Senate committee’s rejection of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare

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A Senate select committee Monday rejected moving forward with an expansion of the Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Chairman Joe Negron said he would like to pursue a voucher-like alternative that would make coverage available through private insurers.

A compilation of reactions to the rejection:

Governor Rick Scott:

“I am confident that the Legislature will do the right thing and find a way to protect taxpayers and the uninsured in our state while the new healthcare law provides 100 percent federal funding.”

Senate President Don Gaetz:

“The Senate Select Committee made the right decision today to reject placing a million more Floridians in a federal Medicaid system that has failed providers, patients and taxpayers.  

“I appreciate the efforts of Senator Negron and members of the PPACA Select Committee as they seek a Florida solution, not a Washington solution, to the problem of low income, uninsured Floridians, the vast majority of whom have jobs and are working to support their families. 

“The Senate looks forward to working with our colleagues in the House of Representatives to jointly explore how to provide private insurance options, not government-run health care as a replacement for traditional Medicaid.  We welcome the Governor and others concerned about this issue to join us in getting Florida out of Medicaid as it has existed in the past.”

Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith:

“Although Republicans voted against what they called “traditional Medicaid expansion” they turned around and endorsed a program that still relies on the same federal dollars and still extends affordable health care to 1 million Floridians. Whatever name they opt to give the program, the bottom line is that money allocated by the federal government for Medicaid expansion will be the mechanism. In the Senate, the remaining question is no longer ‘if,’ but ‘who.’” 

Speaker Will Weatherford:

“I appreciate the Senate Select Committee on PPACA for taking a thoughtful and deliberative approach on the issue of Medicaid expansion.  Like the House, the committee gathered the facts and decided that Washington’s inflexible approach to force Florida to take a “one-size fits all” policy choice is not in our state’s best interest. … I look forward to working with Senate President Gaetz as we investigate alternatives that will strengthen the safety net while also ensuring that we do not put future funding for our schools, public safety and protection of our beaches and springs at risk.”

Florida Democratic Party’s Allison Tant:

“Today Republicans doubled down on their crusade against affordable healthcare by voting against expanding Medicaid. The move was another stunning rebuke of Gov. Rick Scott and the common sense policy that ensures more Floridians have access to the health insurance coverage they need. This political grandstanding on the part of Republicans does an incredible disservice to nearly a million Floridians who would benefit from this expansion.

Florida Chamber:

“Let me be clear, if it’s a take Washington’s mandate or nothing question, the Florida Chamber stands in opposition to Washington’s version of a one-size-fits-all Medicaid expansion. While we are against what Washington passed in its current form, we are for a flexible Florida solution,” said Mark Wilson, President and CEO of the Florida Chamber. “The Florida Chamber Board of Directors has adopted 11 prerequisites for discussing additional federal funding.”

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.