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Texas and Florida remain wary to expand Medicaid

Non-expansion leaves 1 million in each state uninsured, billions in federal funding unavailable

As many Republican-led states propose Medicaid expansion plans, the two largest non-expansion states, Texas and Florida, have yet to throw their hats into the ring.

Texas would benefit greatly from Medicaid expansion, according to a new report from Code Red Task Force. Not expanding the program has cost the state $3.6 billion so far, and that sum will most likely reach $66 billion over 10 years. What's more, the decision to not expand affects nearly 1 million Texans who are not receiving coverage.

The report offers an alternative program: The Texas Prescription plan would include insurance premium subsidies, require contributions from members and encourage a healthy lifestyle, as the plan also aims to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits.

In Florida, even though Gov. Rick Scott (R), who was elected in these past midterm elections, said he supports expanding the state's Medicaid program, the battle to push for expansion continues. Healthcare advocates gathered at the state's Capitol Thursday, and in three other cities, to urge legislation to accept federal funds for the program, reported the Palm Beach Post.

An advocacy group calculated that, by refusing to expand Medicaid, Florida is ignoring some $15 million a day in federal funding, noted the Post.

After two years of no action from lawmakers, a coalition of business associations and hospital groups have formed to promote a proposal called A Healthy Florida Works. The plan would use private insurers to draw $50 billion in federal funding over the next 10 years. If this plan succeeds, more than 800,000 low-income residents would receive health insurance, while more than million could be covered by 2020, according to the Post.

While Texas and Florida remain in limbo with their plans, other Republican-led states--many with leaders who disagree with the healthcare reform law in principle--are making the best of it.

For example, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead says he will push to expand the state's Medicaid program even though he was one of several state leaders to sue the Obama administration over the Affordable Care Act. While he still has some concerns, Mead continues talks with state leaders to make Medicaid expansion a priority for 2015.

For more:
- here's the Code Red report (.pdf)
- read the Palm Beach Post article

Related Articles:
Medicaid expansion roundup: Where are all the states now?
Medicaid expansion update: Two states step forward, two step in place
Midterm elections lower chances of Medicaid expansion
What do Republican election wins mean for healthcare reform?