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Shades of Gray Surround Outcome of FL's Medicaid Expansion

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Photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently dodged questions by reporters regarding the state's participation in the Medicaid expansion. Courtesy: www.flgov.com
Photo: Florida Gov. Rick Scott recently dodged questions by reporters regarding the state's participation in the Medicaid expansion. Courtesy: www.flgov.com
 By Stephanie Carroll CarsonContact
December 24, 2013

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Some 800,000 Floridians are spending their holidays not knowing if they will have access to health care insurance coverage under a Medicaid expansion authorized by the Affordable Care Act. The expanded Medicaid coverage is meant to bridge the gap for people who are too poor to qualify for insurance under federal law, but don't qualify for state Medicaid.

Previously, Governor Rick Scott had publicly stated he would support an expansion, but recently he's been noncommittal on his position - as he was recently with a group of reporters.

Reporter: "Do you still believe the state should take advantage of that funding and expand Medicaid coverage?"

Governor Scott: "There's 300,000 families or individuals have been told they're going to lose their insurance at the end of the month. That's the biggest issue we're dealing with right now."

The Adams Street Project - an effort by Progress Florida and Florida Watch Action - asked the question of the governor while he was at a public appearance. Many state Republican leaders have said they want to turn down the $51 billion in federal funds instead of participating in what they believe is a flawed federal program.

Leah Barber-Heinz, CEO of Florida CHAIN - a group dedicated to increasing access to affordable health care in Florida - said she and other groups aren't giving up hope that the governor will come through on his initial commitment to the expansion.

"The governor has an opportunity to make sure that people have access to affordable health coverage and so many for the very first time, so we think it's extremely important to keep up the fight and continue to advocate for this, no matter how long it takes," she declared.

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