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Midterm Elections Spell Bad News for Potential Medicaid Expansion

The results of the recent midterm elections means that anyone hoping for an expansion of Medicaid in Florida just got some bad news. Because Republicans were able to grab so many seats in the state legislature, it is unlikely that the Affordable Care Act will be further expanded to cover an additional million of uninsured Floridians. 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states were able to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion provision under the Affordable Care Act, which means this element of the law has been left up to state legislatures to decide. In Florida, this has fallen to a largely GOP-led legislature that has previously chosen not to participate in the expansion. With the state going red in the recent midterm elections, this is a trend likely to continue. 

While Florida’s Governor Rick Scott, has stated that he supports the Medicaid expansion, he has not done much in the past to galvanize lawmakers into extending the program. His gubernatorial opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist, urged Scott to push for the expansion following his defeat in a phone call to the governor. Scott indicated that he would look into the expansion, but made no firm promises. 

The state legislature has continued to oppose any type of Medicaid expansion in its state since the inception of the Affordable Care Act, citing soaring costs as one reason to block the expansion. However, Florida senate leaders have indicated that they may be willing to accept federal funds that will allow qualified Florida residents to seek private insurance. 

Florida is not the only state where Medicaid expansions have been defeated. States such as Georgia, Wisconsin, Maine and Kansas all saw closely contested races where Medicaid was one of the hot topics of debate. With all of them re-electing their Republican governors, it is unlikely there will be any extension of Medicaid benefits any time soon. 

For more information on the standing of Medicaid benefits and other related issues, speak with a Florida estate planning attorney at the Charles Law Office.

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