United Way of Broward County
2014 Legislative Agenda
 
Expansion of Access to Healthcare
 
United Way of Broward County calls on the Florida Legislature to provide access to affordable healthcare for all Floridians.
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BACKGROUND:  
Access to affordable healthcare is an essential building block to a productive life.  Ensuring people have the opportunity to achieve optimal health is core to United Way’s mission and community focus.
 
Florida ranks the third highest state in the percentage of uninsured with more than 3.7 million residents without health insurance.   Expanding health insurance coverage to Floridians with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level will provide basic health coverage for over one million children and adults. As part of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will accept alternative state plans for Medicaid expansion dollars that meet coverage requirements for individuals at or below 138% of the Federal Poverty Level. Most uninsured Floridians are unable to afford preventive care. They are forced to use emergency rooms for primary care, usually when health issues are at their worst, thus driving up the overall cost of healthcare, which is then passed on to those already insured and to Florida businesses providing health insurance for their employees.
 
Increasing access to affordable health insurance for all Floridians will provide for a healthier and more productive workforce, and prevent Florida business from paying a hidden tax in increased costs for healthcare coverage. 
 
PROPOSED CHANGES:  
  • DEVELOP a bipartisan plan that will draw down Federal Medicaid expansion dollars to provide health coverage for eligible Florida residents.
  • REMOVE the Kidcare five year waiting eligibility requirement for children of legal immigrants.
  • EXTEND presumptive eligibility for all children enrolling in Florida’s Kidcare program.
 
FISCAL IMPACT: 
  • Over the next decade, healthcare expansion could bring up to $52 billion in federal dollars to Florida, while the state will only be required to spend $2.4 to expand health insurance coverage.
  • Federal healthcare expansion reimbursement rates will decrease from 100% to 90% by 2020 and remain at the rate in perpetuity.
  • According to the Florida Hospital Association, the cost of uncompensated care for over 3.7 million uninsured children and adults was over $6 Billion in 2012. The cost for uncompensated care is passed on to taxpayers, consumers and health insurance providers, creating a hidden tax to Florida businesses in form of increased health insurance rates.
  • Over the next decade, federal expansion dollars will have direct and indirect impact to state and local economies, providing $71B-$115B growth in healthcare industry revenues, a $45B-$72B growth in GDP, $31B-$52B growth in labor income, up to $4.2B growth in business tax revenues, and the creation of 55K-89K permanent healthcare industry related jobs.
  • Removing the Kidcare five year waiting period for children of legal immigrants will extend coverage to over 20,000 children.  The estimated cost to the State is $17.6 million in 2014, and Florida would in turn draw down $43.1 million in Federal dollars annually to fund the Kidcare program.