As Jeb Bush's original running mate, House speaker and Republican member of Congress, Tom Feeney was a conservative firebrand and constant critic of the federal government. But times have changed.
As the public face of Associated Industries of Florida, a business lobby group, Feeney is pushing Medicaid expansion in Tallahassee, and on Wednesday he preached to the choir of the Senate Democratic Caucus on the issue. The double whammy of no Medicaid expansion and the loss of federal low income pool money could result in a potential $1.5 billion tax on businesses, he said. AIF has been pushing Medicaid expansion in Tallahassee for two-and-a-half years to no avail, he said.
"We can't ignore the fact that there are so many uninsured," Feeney told Democrats at their lunchtime meeting. "Florida ought to take its share of federal resources." He said he won't use the phrase "Medicaid expansion" because it's a "dead letter" in the House that he led from 2000 to 2002. "They're still my friends," he said of House Republicans, "but I get grief."