The Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) recently sent a message to the Florida Legislature urging Medicaid expansion and commending Miami-Dade County commissioners for advocating equal health care access for approximately 1.2 million uninsured Floridians.
Presently, Medicaid in the Sunshine State is limited to children, pregnant women, those with disabilities and severely low-income parents. Consequently, many forgot both preventive and palliative treatment and/or end up in emergency rooms, with taxpayers ultimately bearing the cost burden.
“The federal government is offering a really good deal to states (that) expand Medicaid,” Michael Kahane, AHF’s Southern Bureau chief, said. “The feds will fund expanded Medicaid up to 90 percent indefinitely. This is very financially favorable to Florida.”
Vulnerable individuals also include those with HIV without children or disabilities and are currently not covered by Medicaid. While the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) authorized assistance for other Floridians meeting eligibility qualifications, many continue without coverage due to the state’s having blocked Medicaid expansion in the past.
The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners approved a resolution urging state lawmakers to expand Medicaid in Florida and asking the Florida Association of Counties to prioritize advocacy around Medicaid expansion in the upcoming legislative session.
Significantly, the Miami-Dade County metropolitan statistical area ranks first for new HIV infections nationwide; Florida ranks second of all states, and it includes four of the nation’s most impacted regions.
“The time to expand Florida Medicaid is long overdue,” Jason King, legislative affairs manager for AHF’s Southern Bureau, said.
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