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Nobody wants to talk about Medicaid expansion

The debate that dominated last year’s legislative session hasn’t gone away.

Hospitals, powerful business alliances and grassroots advocacy groups still believe Florida should access the billions of federal dollars available for Medicaid expansion.

The difference between this year and last: Nobody wants to talk about it.

House Republicans, who blocked a similar move in 2013, say there is no point in having the contentious conversation again.

“The federal government has parameters that are too constrictive,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, of the guidelines for accepting the money. “Until the feds say they will give us flexibility, there is no reason to move forward.”

But critics say election-year politics are at play. Polls show that some registered Republicans in Florida oppose Medicaid expansion. And in an election year, Republican lawmakers are particularly wary of supporting policies associated with Obamacare.

“Ideology is the only thing stopping House Republicans from moving forward on this issue,” House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston said. “Not expanding healthcare is the wrong thing for Florida.”

Last year, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that would allow the use of federal Medicaid expansion dollars to buy private insurance policies for poor Floridians.

Read more here.