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Poll: 62 percent of Floridians support Medicaid expansion

1:56 PM, Feb 8, 2013   |    comments
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Tallahassee, Florida - Floridians want Gov. Rick Scott to expand the state's Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, according to a new poll.

The Public Opinion Strategies poll finds 62 percent of Floridians support the Medicaid expansion to give an extra million uninsured people health coverage. Thirty-four percent oppose.

The poll breaks down results by demographic groups. Most support the idea: women (69%), seniors (63%), Hispanics (74%), younger voters (76%), independents (61%) and Tampa-area voters (59%).

But most Republicans oppose a Medicaid expansion. Gov. Rick Scott is among the Republicans who are skeptical of the plan.

He's concerned the federal government won't pay its share of the cost. The feds have promised to pay 100 percent of the expansion in the first three years and 90 percent after that.

Bruce Rueben of the Florida Hospital Association, which sponsored the poll, is pleased to see the overall support for an expansion of Medicaid.

"It's $27 billion available for as many as one million Floridians to get coverage through this Medicaid program. Since we are paying for it through a variety ways, we simply need to make sure that Floridians get the benefit of the coverage."

As to Gov. Scott's concern that the feds won't pay their share of the long-term cost, Rueben offers this response.

"The law is the law and it says the feds are going to cover 100 percent for three years and 90 percent after that."

Rueben is suggesting a "Florida Remedy" if the federal government defaults on its promise to pay for the Medicaid expansion.

He says if the feds don't cover the bills, then Florida can simply scale back the health coverage. Rueben adds that the state can track the Medicaid spending to make sure the coverage really results in better health for the extra million Floridians.

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