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Millennials make trek to Tally to press for Medicaid expansion under Obamacare

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A group of uninsured Millennials on Tuesday presented 13,000 signatures to a top official in the Florida House of Representatives.

The group did not meet with Speaker Steve Crisafulli, who, according to his chief of staff, Kathy Mears, was in a meeting.

The small group presented the House with a scroll of 13,000 signatures asking the Legislature to close the “coverage gap” that has resulted because of Florida’s choice not to pass Medicaid expansion as allowable under federal law. An analysis by the grassroots advocacy group, Florida CHAIN, and the Young Invincibles found that Millennials — or those between the ages of 18 and 34 — account for about one-third of the low-income residents in Florida’s coverage gap.

The coverage gap refers to people who don’t qualify for traditional Medicaid coverage but don’t earn enough and cannot get premium tax credits on the exchange. The study found that more than 33 percent, or 331,000 of the estimated 918,000 Floridians who fall in the coverage gap– are young adults aged 18 to 34.

Mears thanked the group for the signatures and assured them she would present them to Speaker Crisafulli.

The Legislature is meeting in Tallahassee for a special session on the budget and healthcare access. The Florida Senate has unsuccessfully tried to persuade the Florida House of Representatives to tap into federal Medicaid dollars and pass what Republicans in the chamber call a responsible, conservative approach to expanding access. The concepts in the Senate proposal, SB 2A, are borrowed heavily from the bipartisan group A Healthy Florida Works.

The  Senate has been unable to persuade the House, or Gov. Rick Scott, to support the approach. The Senate has altered provisions of its plan to get buy-in from the governor and their House peers and the latest attempt at a compromise was floated in the form of an amendment to SB 2A early Tuesday. The amendment would “sunset” or cancel the health program July 1, 2018, unless reviewed and re-enacted by the Legislature

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