KHI News Service

Florida legislators rethinking opposition to Medicaid expansion

By | January 30, 2013

Sammy Mack, Florida Health News.

Florida state Sen. Rene Garcia.

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When Florida sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers targeted a piece of the law that would have forced Florida to make Medicaid available to more than a million uninsured Floridians.

The U. S. Supreme Court upheld most of the act, but it made Medicaid expansion optional.

Now some Florida lawmakers who originally opposed Medicaid expansion are seriously considering that option.

A recent poll showed that nearly two thirds of Floridians are in favor of expanding Medicaid. Research from Georgetown University’s Health Policy Institute and the Jesse Ball duPont Fund suggests Medicaid expansion could save Florida up to $100 million a year in health costs.

“I can say that I’ve moved from a position where I was totally against it to a position that I would consider it and think about it,” said State Sen. René García, a Republican from Hialeah, who was in Miami on Monday for a legislative forum on Medicaid expansion. García still has reservations about the cost of the expansion but he says he's more open to it now.

García was one of the partners on the forum, which was hosted by The Health Foundation of South Florida, the Health Council of South Florida and United Way of Miami-Dade to discuss the economic impact of Medicaid expansion.

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