Compromise and collaboration. That was the message that Dale Brill delivered at press conference held just before the start of 2015A special session.
Brill–founder of the Tallahassee-based consulting group Thinkspot— said 20 days was plenty of time for the House and Senate to come together to bridge the differences the chambers have on healthcare access. Brill was joined by Jim Cameron, vice president of government relations, Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce, and the Rev. Pam McMillan, St Paul’s United Methodist Church in Tallahassee, and Pastor Esteban Rodriguez, of Iglesia Centrol Pan de Vida in Kissimmee.
Brevard County resident Mike Young also joined the group, speaking on behalf of the bipartisan organization calling itself A Healthy Florida Works. Young is self-employed and falls into the “coverage gap,” meaning he is too rich to qualify for Medicaid but does not qualify for subsidies under the federal health insurance exchange.
Young said he doesn’t need a handout but wants healthcare coverage for his family and wants his son to be able to head off to college with insurance. “Don’t let session end without healthcare coverage,” Young told the crowd.
The House and Senate are meeting in a 20-day special session in Tallahassee called to craft a budget and deal with a number of other issues, including a bevy of healthcare bills on certificate of need, state employee health insurance, recovery care centers and scope of practice expansion for Florida nurses. Included in the call is a bill that would use federal Medicaid dollars to expand healthcare access to as many as 800,000 uninsured Floridians.
The Senate plan is called FHIX and contains many of the ideas put forth by the A Healthy Florida Works group. The Senate is offering to make a handful of changes to the bill during the Special Session and now is calling the plan FHIX 2.0.
The changes have not been enough to win support from Gov. Rick Scott or the Florida House of Representatives.