If Rick Scott is truly serious about creating jobs in Florida, he should call for a Special Session on Medicaid expansion.
The Florida Hospital Association released a report by the University of Florida that shows extending health care coverage using the $51 billion in federal funds available would create more than 121,000 permanent jobs over the next 10 years.
Not only that, but it makes sense for the self-proclaimed "fiscally conservative" Governor to do so:
There is no valid argument against extending Medicaid. The federal government will pay 100% of the cost of Medicaid expansion for the first three years, while the state will never be required to pay more than 10% of that cost in any year. Expansion will cost the state an estimated $2.1 billion over the next 10 years, increasing the state’s share of the Medicaid budget by only 2%, while drawing down $20.3 billion in federal funds.
Most of those who will finally become insured are those just above the current Medicaid thresh hold because they are working but still cannot afford private insurance. This included individuals earning up to $15,400 and families of three earning up to $26,300.
This means at least one million more uninsured Floridians will get coverage in the next 6 years. More insured Floridians translates to more jobs, less uncompensated care, and a healthier society.
If Florida does nothing, as the Legislature did, all of us will continue to pay more for health care.
In addition to that, if Gov. Scott is serious when he says he cares about Florida families, he should prove it with his veto pen:
HB 655, the earned sick time bill, would strip local communities of the right to even pass earned sick-time policies for working families. This could have serious impacts on Florida's service-driven economy, not to mention the health and well-being of our families. We urge you to protect Florida's families by vetoing HB 655.
With the absence of expanded health care coverage, Florida is at a risk. Right now, Florida's hardworking families cannot afford to get sick because more than a million have been denied access to health care coverage and none of them will have Earned Sick Time protections.
It's time for Scott to do more for Florida families than merely use them as a campaign slogan. It's also time for him to prove he meant it when he said that expanding Medicaid was "the right thing to do." He needs to do the right thing and call for a Special Session now.