The Republican plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is now in the U.S. Senate. The legislation cuts state funding for the medical care of low-income people. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, said he doesn’t support the proposal.
The bill allows insurance companies to charge seniors and people with pre-existing conditions higher premiums. It also rolls back the Medicaid expansion and lets states cover fewer medical services. Nelson said it’s tax cut to the wealthy masked as a health care bill.
“So what they take out is about 850 billion dollars out of Medicaid over the next 10 years," he said. "Now that’s a fact.”
Nelson said he doesn’t understand why Florida is passing up $5 billion in Medicaid money. The federal government would pay 95 percent of the cost to cover more than 900,000 Floridians. Nelson said the state would pay just $250 million.
Instead Gov. Rick Scott has touted his deal that gives Florida $1 billion in federal funding with the state paying $600 million in matching funds.
“Five billion versus a billion and a half, all of which it is for poor people’s health care," he said. "I mean it’s just ridiculous. It’s nothing but ideological partisanship and unfortunately, that’s what’s been going on.”
Democratic State Rep. Daisy Baez said the state budget for next year cuts more than $500 million from hospitals. That could leave people without access to preventive medical care and more emergency room visits.
“It’s an assault both at the federal level and the state level against the one industry we should be expanding not contracting," she said. "So, I think it’s a mistake.”
Members of Congress are back in Florida this week after the U.S. House voted to repeal and replace the ACA last week. State lawmakers vote today on this year’s budget.