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Sunday, 01 June 2014 15:49

Accepting Medicaid expansion in Florida would save money

Written by  Dan Woodard + others

UPDATE: June 19, 2014

Download PDF:
Health Care Expansion in Florida
A Social and Economic Imperative
scroll down to bottom, see Download attachements, click on:
'Powerpoint Slides on Medicare Expansion'

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Accepting Medicaid expansion in Florida would save money

By Dr. Dan Woodard

Health care is an extraordinarily complicated issue with few if any problems that have simple answers today. In general, improving health care for the poor means higher taxes for the rich and middle class. Making health care more affordable means more stress on providers. There are no easy answers.

But one issue today is unique. A single, simple vote in the state legislature would make health care available to many of the working poor, over one million in Florida, who do not make enough money to afford even the subsidized private insurance offered under the Affordable Care Act. It would allow them to get routine care that can prevent many emergencies. It would allow them to get treatment for illnesses and injuries that make it impossible to work. At the same time it would reduce the overcrowding of Brevard emergency departments due to people seeking care for minor medical problems, and the losses hospitals suffer when people without money need care for serious medical emergencies.

How much would all this cost local taxpayers? The answer is ... nothing. In fact it would save local taxpayers about $1 million per month in Brevard County and comparable amounts in Indian River County.

What is this impossible win-win vote? It is simply to repeal the state's rejection of federal funding for the expansion of Medicaid to cover people with income up to 120% of the poverty line. Medicaid does not provide any monetary benefits; it simply provides access to a very minimal level of medical care.

So why has the Florida legislature rejected it? No coherent answer has been provided; we can only speculate. We invite any of our state legislators to explain why they have taken a course which is both financially disastrous and morally indefensible. I questioned our local state representative on this issue and received a reply which I will share.

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About Dan Woodard
Dr. Daniel Woodard is a board certified emergency physician who has practiced in Brevard County for the past twenty-five years. He also works in the space program, and has supported over one hundred shuttle launches and in medical research, where he studies the biochemistry of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Woodard is a featured speaker on health care at SCPA 1st Thursday, June 5.

For info, click here: http://www.scpaflorida.com/item/2863-scpa-1st-thurs-health-care

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Romano: If Gov. Scott is can-do guy, why doesn't Florida have Medicaid expansion?

Tampa Bay Times, by John Romano, Times Columnist
May 19, 2014

Excerpt

… If you're keeping track, that means nearly a dozen Republican governors have now embraced Medicaid expansion, or some variation of it, in the past couple of years.

And these are not left-leaning governors. They include some of the president's loudest critics, and some of the GOP's biggest names.

Which brings us to Florida.

And nearly 800,000 uninsured residents.

And a governor playing hide-and-sneak.

Once upon a time, Gov. Rick Scott called a news conference to say Medicaid expansion, at least in the short term, was just common sense. He declared he could not "in good conscience'' deny access to health care to our "poorest and weakest.''

That was 455 days ago.

Since then, Scott has barely spoken about Medicaid expansion. He has been content to allow House Speaker Will Weatherford be portrayed as the villain while the governor pretends money and lives aren't at stake.

This hologram-like leadership would be humorous if it wasn't so dangerous.

On a recent online video chat, MIT health economist Jonathan Gruber said states refusing to accept Medicaid funds are "willing to sacrifice billions of dollars of injections into their economy" as well as failing to provide potentially lifesaving health care.

"It really is just almost awesome in its evilness," Gruber said.

And it's not just academicians saying this. The Chamber of Commerce endorsed expansion. Health care organizations have lobbied for it. A year ago, a majority of the Florida Senate approved a plan to accept Medicaid dollars for an alternative plan.

And, still, Scott has refused to lend his voice….

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/gubernatorial/if-rick-scott-is-a-can-do-guy-why-doesnt-florida-have-medicaid-expansion/2180504

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Last modified on Thursday, 19 June 2014 10:11
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