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House minority leader says there’s a chance for Medicaid expansion this year

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There may be hope this year for Medicaid expansion in the Florida House of Representatives.

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford said at a press conference on Thursday that he believes House Speaker Steve Crisafulli may agree to a healthcare plan that would tap into federal Medicaid dollars to craft a plan for Florida.

Why?

“He is a never type of never type of guy,” said Pafford. “I think we all need to be optimists. I think there is a way we can provide healthcare. I think there is a way we can remove emergency waiting rooms as a primary source of care. I think there’s a way to provide cancer screenings to save peoples’ lives. That’s what this is about.”

Pafford said that it didn’t need to be a partisan issue and that “it’s not that far of a distance” to work across the aisle.

“I think we have enough time to get something done,” he added.

Despite Pafford’s assertions, as the fourth week of the 2015 legislative session comes to an end, there has been no movement in the House to tap into federal Medicaid dollars available under the federal healthcare law, often referred to as Obamacare.

Additionally, the House budget does not include any Medicaid supplemental “Low Income Pool” dollars. LIP is a $2 billion pot of money that is used to help fund hospitals, federally qualified health centers, HMOs and is used to help fund graduate medical education, also.

The Senate has included the $2 billion in its proposed budget for the coming year and, additionally, has included $2.8 billion in Medicaid dollars to expand the Medicaid program to 800,000 working poor and uninsured.

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