Committee Chair: Julie Kessel
Our League became involved in the advocacy campaign to get the Florida government to expand Medicaid as provided for in the ACA four years ago. Until Medicaid is expanded, we will continue advocacy efforts, including letter-writing campaigns and making legislative contacts.
The efforts of our League and those of the state and other coalitions met with substantial resistance from the House, in spite of a bill being offered in the Senate. The Florida legislature has rejected $51B in taxpayer dollars paid by Florida residents, and nearly 1 million Floridians remain uninsured, 80% of whom are working people.
Last year, the League has partnered with Florida Chain and secured significant funds to launch an educational campaign across the state. The goal of the Program is to educate the citizenry, public officials, and health care administrations about the human impact for those uninsured, and the financial consequences to the Florida economy. Last year was critical because businesses with more than 100 employees were penalized to the tune of 300M if their employees are not covered. In addition, last year was the first year that individuals were being penalized for not getting coverage, and our hospitals will lose their $1B funding for uncompensated care when the LIP funds are withdrawn by the Feds.
The effect of all of this is to add substantial cost to health care premiums, push people into bankruptcy and personal crises if they become sick, and comprise smaller businesses by not having an optimally healthy workforce; and cost small but larger businesses a lot of money which may lead to some economic stability in our community. This year, our educational campaign will lay the groundwork for specific advocacy actions in 2017, either through bills in the legislature or for consideration of a constitutional amendment to insure coverage to all Floridians.