SEIU Florida Calls Out Cynical House Healthcare Expansion Proposal

Press Statement: April 11, 2013

Contact: Rebecca Wakefield

SEIU Florida denounces an increasingly absurd attempt by House Republican leadership to avoid accepting billions of dollars of federal money for healthcare expansion while professing concern for the health of low-income families.

State Rep. Richard Corcoran’s bill, dubbed Florida Health Choices Plus, echoes the cynical and woefully inadequate proposal put forward by Sen. Aaron Bean.

The Corcoran bill, which has been endorsed by House Speaker Will Weatherford, doesn’t drawn down billions in federal funds and uses roughly $275 million in state revenue to – maybe – cover less than 150,000 people. It leaves out childless adults and forces the few families who could qualify to navigate a state insurance exchange previously available only to small businesses. It is a wildly inefficient proposal that does nothing to avoid a two-tiered system of health care. 

In contrast, Medicaid expansion would extend meaningful, quality coverage for all Floridians under age 65 who have incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, ensuring a new standard of access to preventive healthcare. It would be fully funded the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.

“We are talking about going from astate plan with federal dollars that will bring $51 billion into the state and cover 1.2 million Floridians to a plan that will cover maybe ten percent of that and actually cost the state more money,” said Martha Baker, RN, vice president of SEIU Florida and a registered nurse at Jackson Health System in Miami.. “Even if you don’t think low-income workers deserve quality healthcare, it makes no fiscal sense.”

Gov. Rick Scott called the House plan a “double-hit to state taxpayers” and endorsed Sen. Joe Negron’s compromise plan because it does more to protect both taxpayers and the uninsured in our state.

While SEIU Florida considers full Medicaid expansion the best option, Scott’s and Negron’s stance is at least a thoughtful step forward.

The message to the House is clear: Reject the Corcoran plan. It’s not a healthy choice for citizens, taxpayers — or the state budget.

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.