Jacksonville, FL - Cost remains a central concern for Florida to implement a state healthcare exchange and Medicaid expansion, and some of your lawmakers are wondering whether the projected cost now is correct.
“The numbers technically, I think, that they’re putting forward are the worst case scenario,” says State Senator Audrey Gibson.
The projected cost of expanding Medicaid in Florida right now is $26 billion. Gibson says that doesn’t account for the job growth the Florida has seen, and that the Governor expects we will continue to see.
“If they are realized, then the numbers that we’re looking at really don’t pan out,” she says.
If more people are gaining employment through work, there will be less reliance on federal programs. Gibson says that means these figures are “over-extrapolated”.
But while she hopes we get a more full-circle picture of health care costs, she says it is important that we are a part of the path moving forward.
“It’s not that we’re having something dumped in our lap. We had had an opportunity to come to the table to craft what we thought would work best for Floridians,” she says.
Florida Governor Rick Scott did not commit to setting up a state healthcare exchange by the deadline set by the federal government, or the extension allowed at the last minute. That means Health and Human Services is set to establish an exchange in the state, to the concern of many local lawmakers who don’t know whether the plan will be tailored to Florida’s needs.
A meeting between Scott and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius today was “productive”, however there is not much of a roadmap laid out at this time for the steps the state will take next.