To hold a meeting among House Republicans in private to discuss Medicaid expansion and the Low Income Pool, Speaker Steve Crisafulli said the meeting was for informational purposes only.
“It was strictly a history lesson for our members,” Crisafulli said. “It was important for us to do it.”
Yet the 20-page packet distributed to members during the secret meetings makes for a poor history. It’s more of a nine-step guide on how to defend the House’s double-down rejection of Medicaid expansion.
Crisafulli and other House leaders make it easy for any caucus members who might be wavering, or who might be running out of things to say in explaining their refusal. On page 3 of the packet, nine talking points are provided.
Pay attention: We’ll probably be hearing these repeated over the next two weeks.
-- Medicaid expansion and the Low Income Pool (LIP) are separate issues. (Not if you’re the federal government and the Florida Senate.)
-- Nothing should give our state more pause in this debate than the Obama Administration’s attempt to force Florida to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in order to receive LIP funding.
-- It is unthinkable that the federal government would leave our state on the hook for over a billion dollars simply because they want a specific policy outcome. (That sounds hauntingly similar to what Gov. Rick Scott said. Wonder if they are sharing notes.)
-- I support a safety net for our most vulnerable citizens, but I believe that Medicaid expansion is the wrong approach to strengthening that net.
-- Just because a person has Medicaid does not mean they will have better health. They only scientific study of Medicaid in the country found that Medicaid patients’ clinical outcomes are no better than the uninsured.
-- There is also no flexibility in Medicaid expansion. Florida cannot choose the population, benefit, design, price or eligibility conditions.
-- Medicaid is supposed to be a safety net, but the expansion population goes beyond traditional Medicaid populations of vulnerable people like low-income children, the disabled, and the elderly.
-- We must take a very cautious and deliberate approach to implementing PPACA. If Florida expands Medicaid, it may not be able to undo that decision.
-- We will continue to listen to new ideas. I believe we should strengthen our safety net by continuing to find new and better market-based solutions that are sustainably funded and will provide Florida families and seniors with access to quality, affordable healthcare.