By: Whitney Ray
Tallahassee, Fla. - There’s a standoff at the state capitol over the Medicaid expansion. Governor Rick Scott came out first, asking the legislature to expand the entitlement program. Then House Speaker Will Weatherford fired back this week with a resounding NO. Whitney Ray spoke to the lone hold out today in Tallahassee, Senate President Don Gaetz.
All eyes were on Senate President Don Gaetz, Friday as he spoke to a crowd of business professionals. The question on everyone’s mind, will Gaetz side with House Speaker Will Weatherford or Governor Rick Scott on Medicaid expansion?
During the State of the State address Scott reasserted his support for a massive Medicaid expansion.
“I can not in good conscience deny the uninsured access to care,” said Scott.
A million more Floridians would qualify for coverage if state lawmakers accept the 20 billion dollars to expand the entitlement program.
But right now the expansion is dead. House Speaker Will Weatherford is opposing the governor over opposition from Democrats in his chamber and some Republicans.
“We are a donor state. The federal government wants to give us our money back. Let’s use those dollars to help the little guy and little girl,” said House Republican Mike Fasano.
“If we can help families and we can help them early, we can actually save lives,” said House Minority Leader Perry Thurston.
If the House continues to opposition the expansion, the senate’s decision won’t matter. But if Gaetz does move to accept the money, it could influence the House.
“I want to be very, very prudent about this. There could be alternatives to Medicaid expansion the way that Obamacare envisions it,” said Gaetz.
The only deadline Gaetz is putting on the Senate’s decision is before the end of session. Gaetz says there are still a lot of unanswered questions about the Medicaid expansion. He wants his chamber to try to get answers before moving forward.