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No Medicaid expansion means businesses will pay

A story in today's paper deals with one of the ripple effects of the Legislature's inability to reach a deal on Medicaid expanion this session. Roughly 1 million uninsured Floridians would have received coverage if a deal had been reached. Many of them work for businesses that now must provide that insurance or face hefty federal fines.

An excerpt:

Either way, the Legislature's inaction will saddle many businesses with additional costs that could reach, in total, close to $150 million next year.

"If you do not do Medicaid expansion, or something similar to that, there is a very real penalty imposed upon the employers of the state of Florida," said Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, who had pushed some compromise.

... The historic U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the law actually created some of the current problems. While justices ruled that the centerpiece of the law — a requirement that most everyone have health insurance — was constitutional, they struck down a provision that would have essentially required states to expand Medicaid.

By giving states a choice whether to expand, the court created loopholes about who would be covered and how, and who would be left out.

Part of the law that remained in place requires businesses with more than 50 full-time employees to provide health insurance coverage to anyone working more than 30 hours a week. Many people in agriculture, tourism and hospitality would have been eligible for an expanded Medicaid program.

But with no Medicaid expansion, those workers must either get health insurance from their employers, or they can turn to a federal health exchange to purchase insurance.

If they use a federal exchange, their bosses will be penalized.

Read more here.