SEIU Florida Outraged at Florida Legislature’s Inaction on Medicaid Expansion

Press Statement: April 9, 2013
Contact: Rebecca Wakefield

With three weeks to go before the end of the regular legislative session, both the Florida House and the Senate leadership have opted not to move discussion of Medicaid expansion.

If the inaction continues, Florida risks losing $51 billion in tax dollars from the federal government which will now go to another state, 120,000 new jobs – and the chance to insure 1.2 million hardworking Floridians who need access to quality healthcare.

This is the third week in a row the House committee charged with taking up Medicaid expansion has opted not to discuss the issue. In the Senate, Sen.

Joe Negron’s compromise Healthy Florida bill has also not been put on its first committee agenda for this week.

SEIU Florida joins a broad coalition of healthcare advocates in decrying the Legislature’s willingness to turn its back on thousands of Florida residents who have spoken up in support of Medicaid expansion.

Public opinion polls have heavily favored expansion, as have the majority of editorial boards across the state and more than 80 prominent organizations have supported some form of expansion, including the Associated Industries of Florida, Florida Chamber of Commerce, Florida Hospital Association, Gov. Rick Scott and SEIU Florida.

Our healthcare coalition has counted more than 5900 phone calls to legislators, delivered more than 800 personal healthcare stories, and more than 15,000 petition signatures.

“It appears that the Legislature is in real danger of just doing nothing,” said Martha Baker, RN, vice president of SEIU Florida and a registered nurse at Jackson Health System in Miami. “It’s an insult to the working people who are saying ‘We need this.’ Tallahassee needs to respect its citizens and have a meaningful discussion of how we advance affordable, accessible healthcare.”

SEIU Florida calls on Gov. Rick Scott to put his political muscle into supporting Medicaid expansion, as a key component of his push to expand jobs in the state of Florida.

SEIU Florida represents over 55,000 active and retired healthcare professionals, public employees, and property service workers in the state of Florida. SEIU members provide vital public services in Florida’s hospitals, nursing homes, public schools, community colleges, municipal and county governments, malls, and universities. With over 2.1 million members, SEIU is the fastest-growing union in North America.

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