ST. PETERSBURG, FLORIDA — More than six out of 10 Florida voters support Florida policy makers expanding Medicaid to provide health care coverage for uninsured Floridians, according to a Public Policy Polling (PPP) statewide poll.
In a survey of 814 voters (conducted September 11-13, 2015), 63 percent of respondents supported accepting billions of dollars in federal funding to provide coverage for approximately 800,000 uninsured Floridians.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010, called for states to expand Medicaid for individuals whose income is at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The ACA stipulates that 100 percent of costs incurred by states would be covered by the federal government through 2016. In 2020 and beyond, the federal government will cover 90 percent of the costs of expansion. After two failed attempts by the legislature to expand Medicaid, Florida remains one of 20 states that has yet to comply with this provision of the health reform law.
“The legislature’s resistance to expand Medicaid has left nearly one million Floridians without access to affordable, quality health care,” said Laura Brennaman, PhD, RN, Policy and Research Director of Florida CHAIN. “The legislature’s top priority when lawmakers convene in January 2016 should be to close the gap and expand Medicaid.”
The PPP poll findings come amid projections that Medicaid costs will increase next year, partly because of the state’s failure to draw down federal dollars provided by fully implementing the ACA Medicaid expansion provision. The program for low-income Floridians will consume almost half of the state’s revenue growth over the next three years, according to a recent report. Additionally, while the rate of Floridians without health insurance declined from 20 percent in 2013 to 16.6 percent in 2014, Florida still has the third highest rate of residents without health insurance.
“The ACA provided more Floridians with health insurance, but just two other states fare worse than Florida when it comes to providing its residents with access to health care,” said Brennaman.
While more than 800,000 Floridians go without access to health care, Florida CHAIN held its first ever conference, Moving Forward Together in a New Era of Health Care, in Orlando. The conference was a tremendous success, bringing together more than 150 national experts, advocates, consumers, navigators, health care providers, policy makers, and other stakeholders to learn about pressing health policy topics, including Medicaid, as well as to acquire new skills and network with other participants dedicated to improving the health of all Floridians.
PPP Question: The state of Florida has the opportunity to use billions in federal funding to provide healthcare coverage for approximately 800,000 uninsured Floridians by expanding Medicaid. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose Medicaid expansion in Florida?
Strongly support: 40%
Somewhat support: 23%
Somewhat oppose: 14%
Strongly oppose: 17%
Not sure: 6%