April 30, 2015

The Medicaid expansion debate in Florida is playing out on twitter. Check out this Orlando Sentinel story.

“Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, the fiercest opponent of Medicaid expansion in the House and the next in line to become House Speaker in 2016, defended his position in a series of tweets over the weekend.

The burst of 140-character messages slammed hospitals as profit-hungry, blasted Medicaid as a broken system and asserted he was the one standing up for the “working poor” by denying them sub-par health care through Medicaid.

“The entire fight is about paying hospitals more money. It has nothing to do with coverage or health care outcomes for the poor.”

“Hospitals: ‘show me the money’ Hospitals on poor people: ‘let them eat Medicaid’”

“We will stand and fight with the working poor against the special interests and big corporate hospitals every day of the week!”

“Every big lobbyist and every big money special interest group wants Obamacare‘s Medicaid expansion. hmmm must be a good deal???”

But he also chided the “able-bodied childless adults” that would receive Medicaid if a plan proffered by the Senate were to pass.

The Senate plan requires recipients to be employed or looking for work and pay co-pays and premiums, but still relies on $50 billion in federal money over 10 years to expand Medicaid for those making up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $33,000 for a family of four. Estimates vary, but between 800,000 and 1 million uninsured Floridians could benefit. Of those, Corcoran claims 607,000 are “able-bodied childless adults.”

“The 607k are overwhelmingly able bodied childless adults-almost half of which don’t work at all. The rest work less than 10 months.”

Earlier in the legislative session Corcoran gave a fiery speech asking his colleagues to “go to war” with him to fight the special interests advocating for the Senate’s push for Medicaid expansion. In addition to hospitals, big business groups like Associated Industries of Florida have lined up behind the plan. The Florida Chamber of Commerce favors expansion but only if health care costs are significantly reduced.

Whereas large business lobbies that employ large numbers of people fear hefty fines and penalties because of Obamacare, the federal health care law that calls for Medicaid expansion, for not covering their workers, small business groups like the National Federation of Independent Businesses have fought Medicaid expansion and Obamacare in general as undue mandates.

Corcoran also suggested 609,000 Floridians would lose their private insurance if Medicaid were expanded. He didn’t fully explain in his tweets, but presumably this would be because businesses wouldn’t have to worry about tax penalties for ending health coverage for workers since they would now qualify for Medicaid.

“Taking private insurance with great outcomes from 609k Floridians to give 607k Floridians medicaid is not a fix. It’s disgraceful”

“Who are the 607k that we’re so willing to deny the 609k hard working Floridians from their private insurance?” (Orlando Sentinel)

Of course, the tweets about private insurance concern Professor Jonathan Gruber’s report on earlier Medicaid expansions where six people left private health insurance for every ten people signing up for free Medicaid. We explained that last year. But it requires more than 140 characters. (CPRNC)