Medicaid Expansion would help several people in poverty:House Democrats are demanding that some Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, provide the documents behind their decision to reject Obamacare's Medicaid expansion.
House Oversight ranking member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent requests Wednesday to Perry, Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R).
“In order to better understand the basis for your opposition, I request that you provide ... copies of any state-specific analyses, studies, or reports that you ordered, requested or relied on to inform your decision,” Cummings said in the letters.
He specifically asked for how much funding the states would forgo by rejecting Medicaid expansion, how much the states themselves would have had to pay, how many jobs would have been created with Medicaid expansion, and how many residents would have to forgo "preventive services and other medicare care" without expansion.
At the same time, Cummings asked three Republican governors who decided to accept Medicaid expansion -- Arizona's Jan Brewer, Ohio's John Kasich and New Jersey's Chris Christie -- for the same kind of information, to help explain why they did elect to adopt a key provision of Obamacare. - TPM, 7/30/14
And the Medical Community has come out in full support of expanding Medicaid:When Angel Cardenas, a single mother with a modest income, was diagnosed with breast cancer a few years ago, she struggled to pay for her treatment, which ultimately involved a double mastectomy.
Although Cardenas initially qualified for Medicaid, that coverage was withdrawn after her 16-year-old daughter moved out of their Fort Myers home and Cardenas fell into a different eligibility category.
She tried applying for insurance under the Affordable Care Act. That’s when Cardenas, who owns a small house cleaning business, learned her income was too low to qualify for financial aid to buy a plan on the exchange — and $16 too high for her to receive Medicaid.
“I just choked down the tears,” said Cardenas, 48, who grew up in Miami. “I have to find doctors who will treat me out of charity.”
Cardenas is one of about 800,000 Floridians who are stuck in the so-called “coverage gap,” in which they earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to be eligible for federal tax credits under the ACA. She took part Tuesday in a conference call, part of an effort by healthcare advocates to persuade Florida legislators to expand the state’s Medicaid program, which now sets an annual income eligibility ceiling of roughly $6,930 for a family of three and denies any assistance to individuals and families without dependent children, regardless of how low their income may be.
Under the ACA, Medicaid could be expanded to Florida residents with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $27,310 for a family of three. So far, Florida legislators have declined to act.
Working poor make up a large number of those who fall into the coverage gap. - Miami Herald, 7/29/14
Medicaid Expansion is a serious issue in this race and Florida voters support expanding Medicaid. This issue could seriously bite Scott on the ass. Meanwhile, Charlie Crist (D. FL) is focused on getting a demographic out to the polls this November:The powerful Florida Medical Association has come out in support of expanding Medicaid to roughly 1 million Floridians, choosing sides in a controversial political issue that has divided state lawmakers.
The organization passed a resolution at its annual conference last weekend saying it will publicly support Medicaid expansion, which would bring in nearly $50 billion in federal funds over the next decade. However, the association says it supports the move only if it improves access to patient care and increases Medicaid reimbursement rates to doctors.
Increased access to care will only come "if there are adequate numbers of physicians to care for these patients," the organization said in a written statement, adding that current reimbursement rates are "grossly inadequate and serve as a disincentive to physician participation."
The debate over Medicaid expansion, a key part of President Obama's health law, has been contentious in Florida. The Sunshine State has one of the highest uninsured rates in the country. That pent-up demand was clear as nearly 1 million Floridians bought private insurance through the federal health marketplace. But another million fell into a gap: too poor to qualify for tax credits in the marketplace, yet earning too much to qualify for Medicaid.
In a surprise move two years ago, Gov. Rick Scott said he supported Medicaid expansion, but he never made it a priority. In an unlikely alliance last year, Scott, the Senate, House Democrats, Florida hospitals, health advocates and a diverse mix of business and labor groups all lined up to support a bill that would have drawn down federal funds and given it to Floridians to purchase private insurance. But House Republicans blocked the legislation.
The federal government has agreed to pay 100 percent of the costs for three years and start phasing down to 95 percent in 2017. House Speaker Will Weatherford and fellow Republicans have expressed concern that the feds will not make good on that promise, leaving the state on the hook for the tab.
Democrats and health advocates urged Scott to hold a special session on Medicaid expansion and have repeatedly highlighted the stories of working people who would benefit if the state expanded the program to include those earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level. That's roughly $11,000 a year for a single person and about $19,500 for family of three.
But the issue was a non-starter during the last Legislative session. And as Scott campaigns for re-election, his support for expansion appears to be fading. - The Ledger, 7/29/14
We have to get the base out for Crist so we can defeat Scott. Click here to donate and get involved with Crist's campaign:A recent poll conducted by Quinnipiac University put his support among black voters at 72 percent against Scott, well below the more than 90 percent analysts believe he needs to win.
At about the same time, a poll by SurveyUSA for a Tampa-area TV station showed he may be gaining ground. It put his support among black voters at 92 percent, an abrupt jump of 20 to 30 points from earlier surveys by the group, although pollsters warned it was too early in the race to draw conclusions.
Crist said he will get the votes. His campaign, which appears to be making inroads by reaching out to black church leaders and canvassing neighborhoods, points to several policies he pushed through as a Republican that won praise from black leaders.
In 2008, for instance, when voters were standing in long lines at the polls, Crist extended early voting hours. He also helped restore voting rights for many felons.
Earlier this month, Crist was warmly greeted at a predominantly black church in Tampa during a candidate forum.
In the audience was Iris Metcalf, a 51-year-old secretary who voted for Crist for governor when he ran as a Republican. “Parties evolve and people evolve,” said Metcalf, who still supports Crist.
Crist’s biggest hurdle in securing the key black turnout may be a series of provocative ads by Progressive Choice, a group based in Maryland that says it formed some months ago to advocate for liberal issues such as reproductive choice, equal rights and education.
While the group has criticized Crist’s positions as a Republican on a range of issues, its most vociferous attacks have centered on race.
One of the ads, set against a pulsing hip hop beat, urges black voters to break the chains, a reference to his past support of chain gangs. Another ad blames him for a “lost generation of African Americans.”
As a federally registered, social welfare organization, Progressive Choice does not disclose donors. Crist strategists call it a shadow operation for conservatives, which the group denies.
“The challenge in front of him is owning up,” said Dwight Bullard, a Democratic state senator from a prominent black political family who is supporting Crist’s underdog opponent in an August primary. “To let those ads linger out there unanswered, I think, is really harming the turnout.”
The challenge for Crist is to lure black voters to the polls by addressing issues they care about, such as school discipline and the justice system, political analysts said. - Raw Story, 7/30/14