Tallahassee, Florida - July 12, 2012 -
With Gov. Rick Scott vowing to reject a Medicaid expansion, many low-income Floridians could be exempt from a federal requirement that people have health insurance in 2014. Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, sent a letter to governors Tuesday that stemmed from last month's Supreme Court ruling on the federal Affordable Care Act. That ruling upheld the coverage requirement --- often described as the "individual mandate" --- but allowed states to opt out of an expansion of Medicaid eligibility, which would be heavily funded by the federal government. "Ultimately, I am hopeful that state leaders will take advantage of the opportunity provided to insure their poorest working families with the unusually generous federal resources while dramatically reducing the burden of uncompensated care on their hospitals and other health care providers,'' Sebelius wrote in the letter. "If any state were to choose not to do so, the Affordable Care Act exempts individuals who Congress determined cannot afford coverage from the individual responsibility provision."