Dear Gov. Scott:
In Florida – a state where roughly one-in-five residents not covered by Medicare lack any health-insurance coverage at all – the consequences of the state Legislature’s recent decision not to expand Medicaid loom large.
As you know, in passing the Affordable Care Act, Congress fully funded the expansion of Medicaid coverage to an estimated one million Floridians. And, your announcement last February – when you publicly declared you wouldn’t be the one to “deny” these Floridians this coverage – was seen by many as a “watershed moment” for the nation’s health-care bill.
Now, the Legislature has done exactly what you said you wouldn’t: it has denied these Floridians access to coverage. And now, only you have the chance to remedy the lawmakers’ failure to expand Medicaid to these needy Floridians. Therefore, I urge you to call a special session.
As governor, you have a responsibility to the safety and welfare of all Floridians. And absent further action on your part, hundreds of thousands will continue receiving their medical care in hospital emergency rooms across our state – where the costs are the absolute highest, and taxpayers and policyholders foot-the-bill.
Not only was this an unconscionable and callous decision by the Legislature – it was also a bad decision for many business owners who could now end up paying tax penalties of $2,000 to $3,000 per employee. As a former state treasurer and insurance regulator, I can also tell you one of the ways to curb a rise in premiums is by reducing the high expenses associated with uncompensated and indigent medical care that get passed on to the rest of us.
So, again, I strongly urge you to remedy the Legislature’s inexcusable failure. I look forward to hearing from you on this issue of special importance and working with you to provide Floridians with this much-needed medical coverage.