Florida Politics: “Annette Taddeo pushes for amendment to expand Medicaid”

Sen. Annette Taddeo has filed a joint resolution (SJR 224) that would amend the Florida constitution to adopt the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) Medicaid expansion.

“The state Medicaid plan shall be amended to provide Medicaid coverage to persons under age 65 with an income equal to or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level,” the proposed amendment language reads.

Florida was among the states to reject Medicaid expansion after the ACA was originally approved.

Prior to ACA passage, Medicaid had covered people up to the federal poverty level. But the ACA expanded Medicaid eligibility to those within 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

That expansion began in 2014, with the federal government footing all of the additional cost through 2016. The feds covered 95 percent of the cost in 2017, then 94 percent in 2018 and 93 percent in 2019. From 2020 onward, the federal government promised to cover 90 percent of the additional cost.

That share is much larger than the federal government’s share for other Medicaid enrollees. Still, Florida rejected the expansion, balking at any additional cost to the state.

Taddeo’s measure would undo that decision. But it’s almost certainly doomed to fail given that Republicans control both houses of the Legislature, as well as the governorship.

An amendment can be proposed to the state constitution via a joint resolution. That resolution would require 60 percent approval from both chambers of the Legislature. It would then appear on the ballot for voter approval.

But that 60 percent threshold in the Legislature is going to be a high hill to climb.

Taddeo’s proposed amendment language tasks the state Medicaid agency to submit an expansion plan to Gov. Ron DeSantis by April 1, 2021.

DeSantis is tasked with reviewing and responding to that plan by July 1, 2021. By Oct. 1, 2021, the state Medicaid agency would then submit the final plan to the federal government.

View the original article here.