Feds: It's not too late to expand Medicaid

With no deadline to implement Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials this week urged Florida lawmakers to expand coverage, the Miami Herald reported.
With no deadline to implement Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials this week urged Florida lawmakers to expand coverage, the Miami Herald reported.

With no deadline to implement Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, federal officials this week urged Florida lawmakers to expand coverage, the Miami Herald reported.

Accepting the federal funds available for Medicaid expansion would add 120,000 private sector jobs and save Florida almost $430 million in healthcare costs. However, the longer Florida waits to expand its program, the more federal Medicaid dollars it gives up, the article noted.

"States can improve health, protect families from financial ruin, ensure doctors and hospitals get paid for the care they deliver, and boost the economy,'' said Paul Dioguardi, director of intergovernmental and external affairs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "We're still hopeful that Florida will take advantage of this generous offer.'

Unless states like Florida change their minds on the issue, the vast majority of individuals eligible for Medicaid under healthcare reform's expansion will not wind up in the program, according to the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid. More than 60 percent of Americans who would be eligible for the expansion reside in the 27 states that will not expand their Medicaid programs, FierceHealthFinance reported last week. Twenty-one of those states have already rejected expansion, while six remain undecided.

However, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) maintains his opinion on Medicaid expansion and won't call a special session on the matter, a Scott spokeswoman told the Herald. And Florida Sen. Joe Negron (R-Stuart), chair of the Senate committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, said straight Medicaid expansion in the state has a "zero percent chance."

Virginia joins Florida among those states that aren't moving forward with Medicaid expansion, although that decision could change depending on whether Democrat Terry McAuliffe or Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wins the gubernatorial election in November, Politico reported.

To learn more:
- here's the Miami Herald article
- read the Politico article