Where Florida’s Money Is Spent And Expanding Medicaid

Another state session and another hard push for Medicaid expansion in Florida. Despite a record low unemployment rate in Florida, record-high wages and record opportunity, the tired playbook of attempting to create a crisis has emerged in the name of massive government expansion and the certainty of much higher future taxes in Florida. State Senator Annette Taddeo is pushing a massive expansion of Medicaid in our state in the name of helping those who can’t afford healthcare. Never mind the fact that no one is ever denied healthcare who needs it in this country or that its reach is already massive in our state. Predictably, news media statewide are actively engaged in every effort to promote the agenda by talking up poverty and those who lack healthcare and winning bonus points if they can find a person with a story they can use to convey the sheer cruelty of the state of Florida under our draconian ways. The one thing that’s lacking, of course, are facts and reality. 

Let's start with this. 13% more people are on Medicaid in our state right now than are on unemployment. The median household income is currently $52,500. If you’re not entirely familiar with the debate, it’s been years in the making going back to the passing of the Affordable Care Act a decade ago. The reason why Florida didn’t accept the Medicaid expansion originally and hasn’t since is straight forward. It’s already Florida’s number #1 expense coming in at 32% and after three years the entire financial burden for the expansion falls to the state. The other expenses are 26% for education, 12% for transportation, 4% for corrections and 26% for everything else.

One out of every three dollars from the state already goes to provide healthcare for the poor. That’s because 16% of Florida’s population is on Medicaid. So, every 1% of the Florida population that’s on Medicaid consumes 2% of the state’s funds. What would Medicaid expansion mean? The current estimate is that an additional 525,000+ Floridians would end up on it which is about 3% of the population. That would require 6% of the additional revenue of the state to provide it. 

That’s where the conversation should begin. First, should 1 in 5 Floridians really be on Medicaid paid for by the other 80% that also have to pay for their own healthcare? Second, where do you want that 6% to come from? Before anyone advocates for this, you’d better have answers to those questions. Without dramatic cuts to education in Florida, there’s no way to pay for it without dramatically raising taxes. The reason Florida’s as successful as it is currently is because we’ve made smart and fair decisions, unlike so many states that people are fleeing when they come here.

Photo by: Getty Images

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