Rep. Amanda Murphy to file House Medicaid-expansion bill

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Rep. Amanda Murphy, recently elected to the House District 36 seat, announced she would file a bill to expand Medicaid, which would provide increased benefits to eligible Floridians using federal funds.

The expanded benefits would come through the Healthy Kids and Healthy Florida programs. Sen. Rene Garcia committed earlier in the week to bring a similar bill resembling the Medicaid expansion measure passed by the State Senate last year.

“Filing this bill will open the door for us to revisit taking the much needed Medicaid expansion dollars,” Murphy said in a statement issued Saturday. “It would be irresponsible to leave our tax dollars on the table while there are still too many Floridians left without access to affordable and quality healthcare.”

Healthy Florida uses federal funding to assist individuals and families with purchasing private health insurance coverage by creating an alternative benchmark plan. Murphy’s approach would operate separately from the state’s current Medicaid system. It would use a similar framework as the Florida Healthy Kids program.

The Senate passed a bill in the 2013 session to receive federal funds for Medicaid expansion, but the House voted it down.

“Florida businesses are now potentially facing millions in fines for the decision made by the Legislature last year,” Murphy added. “We have the opportunity to make this right, not just for those who need healthcare, but also for businesses.”

“I look forward to working alongside my colleagues in the House to do what is right for the hard working people of Florida.”

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.