The Democrats’ shocking inflation deal still leaves 800,000 Floridians uninsured as panic sets in.

  • Democrats in Congress are poised to begin voting this week on inflation.
  • But the deal doesn’t extend health care to people with incomes close to the poverty line.
  • About 800,000 Floridians remain uninsured and the next shot may not take place until 2024.

When Democrats in Congress announced last year that they are working on spending more money to reform the health care system in America, Florida health advocates were hopeful that there would finally be a way to provide health care to more people.

However, last week, their hopes were dashed. One of the many things that caused the Democrats to derail the $740 billion inflation-reduction Act was a bill that prevented Republican lawmakers from expanding Medicaid to the extent of nearly. 800,000 Floridians.

The omission is a big blow to Florida’s uninsured, especially at a time when many are worried about the recession, and residents are already facing higher grocery and gas prices, as well as rising mortgage payments, health advocates said.

“It’s a missed opportunity, especially when the whole thing has to do with inflation and inflation,” Scott Darius, director of the nonprofit Florida Voices for Health, told Insider.

Florida and others 12 states led by Republicans who refuse to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Under the law, states pay 10% of the cost while the state picks up 90% of the tab.

Florida doesn’t have a shot at expanding Medicaid until 2024 at the earliest. Health care providers in Florida and Democrats have little faith that the Republicans in the state legislature will change their opinion against the expansion of Medicaid, so they hope to put the question on the 2024 election for voters to see directly.

“The vote is our best chance to get Medicaid expanded,” state Sen. Shevrin Jones, a Miami Gardens Democrat who sits on the state Senate’s health policy committee, told Insider.

“This should be a priority for us, but Republicans have shown us time and time again that they don’t care about what makes sense,” Jones added. “They are interested in what feeds their base.”

In 2021, President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue package tried to sweeten the Medicaid contract by paying the state for two years, but Florida still hasn’t done so. Gov. Ron. DeSantis office he told the Washington Post in March 2021 that he “remains opposed to Medicaid expansion in Florida.”

The governor’s office and several other GOP leaders in the state legislature did not respond to Insider’s questions about whether any other circumstances, such as the recession, would change their views on Medicaid expansion.

Republicans have complained about taking more health care money, fearing that the government could one day defund Medicaid.

House Speaker Chris Sprowls, a Republican from Palm Harbor, said he thinks Medicaid should only go to the most vulnerable people, rather than based on income, he said. Orlando Sentinel in March 2021.

Under Obamacare, people making $13,590 or less for an individual or $27,750 for a family of four must sign up for Medicaid. This has raised objections from Republicans because it does not address disability or employment.

Rev. Vanessa Tinsley, executive director of Bridge to Hope, a Miami-based community organization whose work includes food programs, said the narrative surrounding Medicaid is not true. Most of the clients they serve have jobs and college degrees.

“It’s not about working hard β€” we have that here β€” but they’re working hard in low-wage jobs,” he said, adding that while Florida has raised the minimum wage it hasn’t had higher rents. One of the biggest health problems can be spending money or raising money, he said.

Bernie Sanders Joe Manchin

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) (L) passed Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) during the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, on Capitol Hill on May 03, 2022 in Washington, DC.

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

Biden’s US House speech cut the price by more than half

For more than a year, Democrats in Congress have searched for ways to circumvent GOP lawmakers on Medicaid states. About 4 million people nationwide who are uninsured could join Medicaid if all states expand the program, according to the federal government report written by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The US House’s $ 2 trillion Build Back Better Act that was passed in November 2021 came with a solution to fill the Medicaid gap. It would cover the full cost of health insurance for people with incomes close to the poverty line.

But the provision was among many that were removed to create the Inflation Reduction Act, although the bill retained certain medical principles on drug prices and health insurance for high-income people who would not qualify for Medicaid.

The bill is still subject to change. Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia is planning to introduce reforms to help people who can’t get Medicaid. They will propose the amendments during a “vote-a-rama,” a marathon session of amendment votes that could change the final constitutional changes. The Senate is considering the inflation agreement starting Saturday.

Florida Voices for Health is working with Southerners for Medicaid Expansion to Push it Congress this week to support Warnock’s reform.

But Conservative Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona have been wary of increasing the cost of the legislation. One estimate from the DRM-Free Budget Office found the proposal for Medicaid from the Build Back Better Act would cost the federal government $125 billion.

Florida Sen.  Shevrin Jones discusses the bill, which is called by the opposition

Sen. Shevrin Jones discusses the bill, which he called “Don’t Say Gay”, before the bill was voted on during a legislative session at the Florida State Capitol, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Tallahassee, Florida.

Wilfred Lee/AP Photo

‘We have to be creative’

Without a federal response or an immediate vote, the future of Medicaid is in the hands of state lawmakers or voters.

Bridge to Hope’s Tinsley said she was “horrified” by the recession because she was already seeing people living on the edge. They know families whose parents can’t get married because if they did their children wouldn’t qualify for Medicaid, people who skip essential medications, or fathers with asthma who can’t afford health insurance and are left to borrow their children’s inhalers.

Tinsley said: β€œThe people I used to eat with were donors and volunteers. “Our equipment is running low.”

The lack of access to medical care is a major drain on people’s lives, he said. And many Florida residents who need to cut back on spending can do so by reducing their mortgages, he added. In many cases, cheap food is unhealthy, and this leads to problems such as diabetes and high blood pressure that increase the cost of public services.

Mr. DeSantis is expected to be re-elected in Florida and is expected to win as Florida Republicans outnumber Democrats in the state by 220,000 people. All the Democrats running for office in the August 23 primary to face him – Rep. Charlie Crist and Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried – support Medicaid expansion.

Jones faces a major opponent on August 23. If re-elected, he plans to propose additional funding for Medicaid, he said. However, this cycle, he said he wants to try to see if there is a bipartisan approach like other GOP-led states have done β€” especially when hospitals and health insurers join the effort.

“We have to be creative,” he said.