Business Group Says Health Care Expansion Threatens Education Funding

Mar 29, 2013
Originally published on March 29, 2013 10:25 am

A business advocacy group is running television ads that say Florida might have to cut education funding if the state expands Medicaid health coverage.

The National Federation of Independent Business has also set up a website —

“Washington promises to pay the billions in new costs. But with these endless federal deficits can we really trust them?” The ad states. “If Florida gets stuck with the long term bill it will bust our budget. That could force big cuts for funding in education.

“Protect our budget and schools,” the ad concludes, asking viewers to sign a petition.

Lawmakers are debating whether — and then how — to expand Florida’s Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act. Adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,000 for an individual and $32,500 for a family of four, are eligible for Medicaid under the federal law.

Medicaid is a state-run, but federally funded health care program for the poor and disabled.

The federal government would provide an additional $51 billion for health care over the next decade, and Florida would contribute an additional $3.5 billion over the same period.

State economists estimate the expansion would cover an additional 1 million people. The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy estimates an expansion would cover an additional 1.3 million people.

This is not the first time the NFIB has opposed the health care expansion. The group joined Florida’s efforts to have the law ruled unconstitutional.

We’ve written before about the choice facing parents if the state were to ask them to choose education or health care funding

Education accounts for 51.3 percent of state General Revenue spending, while health care is 30.9 percent of General Revenue spending. General Revenue include sales tax and state fees.

The percentage of General Revenue spent on education is increasing faster over the past decade than the percentage of General Revenue spent on health care, according to state budget data.

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