news ICYMI: HuffPost: Millions of Floridians Losing Health Care While Ron DeSantis Fights Culture Wars
Key Point: “Maybe DeSantis can do something about this. doing.”
Huffington Post: Millions of Floridians are losing health care while Ron DeSantis fights the culture wars
- Florida Governor Ron DeSantis continues to make news with his self-proclaimed campaign to combat “awakened” ideology. The latest headlines came about two weeks ago when Republicans announced they would ban public high schools from offering a new tertiary course on African-American history. His administration explained that the course “lacked significant educational value”.
- But DeSantis has some other administrative responsibilities. One of them cares about the health and financial well-being of Florida residents, including those who are uninsured and unable to pay their own medical bills.
- Florida has a very large population, about 2.6 million individuals as of 2021, according to the latest US Census. That’s about 12% of the population, well above her national average of 8.6%. It also has more than all but four of her other states.
- Uninsured Floridians are unable to pay their medical bills and suffer from debt, lack of access to the care they need, or both. States are suffering as well. Because it will ultimately result in a sicker and less productive workforce, as well as a higher burden of charity care on hospitals, clinics and other parts of the health safety net.
- DeSantis could do something about this. he refused. In fact, at this point his administration is embarking on a plan that some analysts fear could exacerbate the problem.
- The simple reason so many Floridians don’t have health insurance is because elected officials won’t sign the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act. over the poverty line.
- Most states are doing just that now. This is the single biggest reason why the national uninsured rate is at a record low. But 11 states held out with the much more restrictive eligibility criteria they had established before the Affordable Care Act took effect.
- Florida is one of them. Childless adults in Sunshine State are not eligible for Medicaid unless they fall into a special eligibility category, such as being disabled. Also, even adults with children struggle to get into the program because the standard income guidelines are so low. That’s about 30% of the poverty line that last year brought her below $7,000 for a family of three. That alone isn’t enough to cover rent, food and other necessities, let alone health insurance.
- All non-expanded states have Republican governors and/or legislatures, and nearly all belong to the Deep South. They represent the last line of resistance to Obamacare, which the Republican has fought for more than a decade, and is famously nearing repeal in 2017.
- DeSantis wasn’t just a bystander in that effort. A Republican serving in the House, he was part of the far-right caucuses that voted against his ACA repeal bill, the first the leadership brought to the floor. For those with chronic diseases.
- Republican leaders eventually proposed a more aggressive repeal. DeSantis and his colleagues voted for it, but it was defeated in the Senate.
- Florida has just announced its plans, and according to Joan Alker, executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University, Florida’s 1.75 million residents could lose their insurance as a result. The state seems intent on moving forward quickly, despite its own projections suggesting that
- “They are very desperate to get nearly 2 million people off Medicaid. This is terrifying,” Alker told The Huffington Post. She added she was particularly concerned about children, who represent a disproportionate number of Florida’s Medicaid population.