State economist Amy Baker presented a report Monday that estimated nearly 869,000 people would be part of the Medicaid expansion, though many of those would be shifted into the program from other types of coverage. As an example, children who are currently eligible for a program that offers subsidized health insurance to working families would be shifted into Medicaid if they met the new income qualifications.
The House, Senate and Scott administration have already rejected another part of the Affordable Care Act that could have involved the state running a health-insurance exchange, an online marketplace where people can shop for coverage. In doing so, the state will default to the federal government running the exchange in Florida.
Last month, Scott shocked many conservatives when he endorsed a plan to expand Medicaid after fighting so hard against the law. Scott called for an initial three-year expansion, but most Republicans said it would be impossible to undo health care insurance for the Floridians who would have been covered.
It’s unclear how much political capital Scott is prepared to expend pushing a possible expansion. He has said it is not among his top priorities and was not included in excerpts released Monday previewing his State of the State address on Tuesday.
Others may have to pick up the cause. On Monday, a lobbyist for the business-backed Associated Industries of Florida said the state should not just toss aside the billions of federal dollars.
“What we see is that we’re already paying, the business community, is already paying for the uninsured, in the most costly setting possible, in the emergency rooms,” Slater Bayliss said. “We encourage you to best leverage available federal funding to ensure that we provide coverage to Floridians in a manner that protects the state’s financial health.”