As expected, the House committee studying the Affordable Care Act voted against expanding Medicaid today. Here is a round up of what some folks on both sides of the issue said after learning of the panel's party-line vote.
Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey:
"By voting to turn back these dollars, this committee has, in essence, told millions of Floridians that they are not worthy of having access to primary health care services. Our office receives untold numbers of calls from single women, single mothers and others who may be living on the edge, that they cannot see a doctor because they do not qualify for Medicaid under existing criteria."
That was from prepared remarks emailed by Fasano's office, but he took it even further when we spoke to him on the phone. Fasano criticized his fellow Republicans for voting to deny health care access even as they have subsidized, government-supported health care plans of their own.
"It's very easy for individuals that have health care insurance being paid for by the taxpayers of Florida to say no to individuals that have no access to health care insurance or health care period," he said.
James Madison Institute director of public affairs Thomas Perrin:
"The House made the right decision today to not draft a committee bill expanding Medicaid under PPACA provisions. Many Members expressed valid concerns that this could hurt the people that it is aimed at helping. State leaders should focus on providing more access to quality care — expanding a program that is inefficient in this effort is not a way to do that. Additionally, in our recent poll of 600 registered Florida voters more than 63 percent said they are wary that the federal government would keep the funding level promises made, and clearly many House Members share this worry. If history is any indicator, costs of such programs are often underestimated and there has been examples of the federal government going back on their promise before. These issues cannot be ignored."
"AARP Florida calls on Florida’s elected leaders to put forward their ideas for how to provide equal or greater access to care for those struggling without health coverage. If finding such solution is a challenge, then it’s time for Florida’s leader to focus on the reasons to support Medicaid expansion rather than to oppose it."
"... Expanding Medicaid can provide uninsured Floridians with vital coverage, including preventive care that can save all of us money. And Floridians don’t want to send $26 billion in their tax dollars to other states to pay for health coverage for uninsured residents of those states."
Florida Democratic Party executive director Scott Arceneaux:
"Today, in a display of Gov. Rick Scott's complete failure to lead his own party, House Republicans voted against expanding Medicaid to nearly a million Floridians. Despite broad public support the House GOP put politics before the well-being of Floridians. This partisan foot-dragging at the expense of Florida’s most vulnerable is as egregious as it is wrong. Floridians have spoken and the cost of doing nothing is too high."