Florida: A Last Stand on Medicaid Expansion

MGN Online
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As of Wednesday, there are just two days left in Florida's annual legislative session.

It's normally a time when lawmakers are busy voting on dozens of high-profile bills.

But in the house, partisan sniping has brought all that activity to a slow crawl.

It's a last stand on Medicaid expansion and about the only tool House Democrats have to revive an issue the majority Republicans don't want to talk about.

In asking for each and every bill to be read in full, albeit by a speed-reading computer, the Democrats are hoping to run down the clock to the point where GOP priorities are in danger of not passing.

It's at that point they hope speaker will weatherford will think twice about Medicaid.

Rep. Jim Waldman, a Democrat representing Coconut Creek said Wednesday in the Legislature, “We're trying to get you to reconsider what we think was a very poor decision to not accept the federal dollars to provide health care coverage to 1.2 million uninsured Floridians.”

To hear it from the Democrats, democracy has come to a standstill.

They complain they're being denied a vote on Medicaid expansion, but the House's Republican leaders feel that way about pretty much everything else.

Bills dealing with everything from education to tax cuts have yet to be voted on.

And Republican Representative Jimmy Patronis worries if they ever will. He explains, “Sometimes the process can consume time and your legislation may die, and the frustration is sometimes you have to file a bill again the next year, so I think that stands for Republicans and Democrats.”

But with the Senate having already approved Medicaid expansion, it's up to the House to make that legislation a reality or it dies.

One thing's for sure: time runs out Midnight on Friday.

Governor Rick Scott has made expanding medicaid in line with the federal health care reform law one of his top priorities.

Some say if it doesn't happen, the Governor should call a special legislative session to force lawmakers to continue working on a compromise.

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