When the Obama Administration rolled out the Affordable Care Act, it was supposed to be the answer everyone was looking for when it came to offering affordable health care to thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands -- of Americans across the nation. One way this was to be done was by expanding Medicaid programs to provide low-cost health care to people below the poverty line.
But as healthcare.gov explains, Medicaid expansion has been a decision left to state legislatures. For Florida, it wasn't a measure our law makers wanted to pass. Even though this left approximately 800,000 Florida residents without health insurance, Florida legislators were hopeful that a government funding program might be able to offset the cost. But now funding to Florida is being cut, which has not sat well with Gov. Rick Scott.
The government program, which some of our Melbourne readers may know about, reimburses hospitals that provide health care to low-income or poor individuals. Here in Florida, the program provides more than $1 billion in federal funding. Gov. Scott believes that cutting funding will leave the state footing a bill it might not be able to handle. He also believes that this maneuver is a way of coercing Florida into passing Medicaid expansion.
Whether this is the case or not, the possibility of a funding cut to hospitals across the state does present an incredibly difficult financial situation for not only the state, but to low-income residents as well.
Some of our Melbourne readers who have not yet reached their retirement age may have been banking on Medicaid expansion to help offset the costs of health care when they retire. Without the expansion though, some may have relied on the federal funding to hospitals as a backup plan. Now, with the chance the funding will also be cut, these readers will need to rethink how they will pay for health care down the road.
Source: NPR, "Fla. Governor Leaves Meeting With U.S. Health Secretary Empty-Handed," Phil Galewitz, May 6, 2015