Republican leaders in the Florida House may be pivoting to other health care topics, but their colleagues in the Senate are making sure Medicaid expansion will remain in the mix.
Sen. Rene Garcia, a Hialeah Republican, has filed legislation that mirrors last year's Senate proposal to use $51 billion federal Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private insurance policies for poor Floridians. That bill had the support of the entire Senate, Gov. Rick Scott and House Democrats.
The legislation died in the House, where all but one Republican voted to support a rival plan that rejected the federal dollars. Garcia said via a press release it would be "irresponsible" to leave that money on the table and forgo the new coverages and jobs Medicaid expansion an alternative would provide.
"The amount of federal dollars available for the state of Florida to increase health coverage is substantial, and Florida would not be the first Republican led state to accept Medicaid expansion," Garcia said via a press release announcing that he filed the bill. "There are currently eight states led by Republican governors or a majority Republican legislature who have agreed to provide expanded Medicaid to their constituents.
"I hope the house puts aside partisan politics and does what is right for the hard working people of our great state," he said.
The bill hasn't yet showed up on tracking websites, but a spokesman for Garcia says it's in the final proofing stages and will be posted soon.