Democratic state representatives and Jackson Health System nurses and doctors on Friday called for Republicans, including Gov. Rick Scott and House leaders, to expand Medicaid healthcare coverage for more low-income Floridians and also preserve a federal program that funds hospitals that treat large numbers of uninsured patients.
The rally — hosted by Jackson’s labor union for doctors and nurses, SEIU 1991, in front of the state’s busiest public hospital, Jackson Memorial — drew several hundred hospital employees and at least three House Democrats who support a plan approved by the Republican-controlled Florida Senate but rejected by House leaders.
The plan would expand Florida’s restrictive eligibility criteria for Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled, and renew a hospital funding program called the Low-Income Pool, or LIP, that provides about $1.3 billion for hospitals but is set to expire on June 30.
The healthcare issue is at the center of a stalemate between the two chambers that led House leaders to abruptly end the legislative session without adopting a budget — the one job they are constitutionally required to complete.