By now, it’s widely known that Florida is among the last 12 states to move forward with Medicaid expansion. The debate has now moved to Congress where leaders in both the House and Senate are calling for a federal fix to the coverage gap.
Earlier this month, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor from Tampa, was joined by 34 House members, all from states that have refused Medicaid expansion, urging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Steny Hoyer to establish a federal program to cover people in the coverage gap. The letter was followed by a press conference highlighting the need for care that over 500,000 Floridians are experiencing.
On August 9th, the Democratic Senators released their Budget Resolution Agreement Framework. The agreement calls for the $3.5 trillion in long-term investments to be fully offset by a combination of new tax revenues, health care savings, and long-term economic growth. As part of the agreement, the Finance Committee will receive an instruction that requires at least $1 billion in deficit reduction to provide flexibility for investments. The agreement instructions call for investments in:
Paid Family and Medical Leave
ACA expansion extension and filling the Medicaid Coverage Gap
Expanding Medicare to include dental, vision, hearing benefits and lowering the eligibility age
Long-term care for seniors and persons with disabilities (HCBS)
Health equity (maternal, behavioral, and racial justice health investments)
On Aug 11th, Senate Democrats approved a budget resolution that will allow them to pass the $3.5 trillion spending plan without GOP support later this year. The budget resolution doesn’t become law, but it's the first step toward bypassing the 60 vote threshold required to pass most legislation in the Senate. Once the House and Senate approve the budget instructions, the reconciliation process begins. Democrats will try to pass the spending bill on their own as soon as late September.
What We Can Do!
Engage & Push Priorities. Push members of Congress hard for affordable coverage, including a Medicaid direct coverage option, maternal postpartum coverage, and the Medicaid re-entry act. You can contact members of Congress with one-click, here.
Enroll People. IT IS STILL OPEN ENROLLMENT! This is the final push through August 15 to get covered. Floridians should visit www.coveringflorida.org for help navigating the ACA Marketplace.
Collect Stories. Help us identify and share more stories like Christina’s. Come the fall, we will continue to showcase the human side of these priorities to ensure they stay in any reconciliation package.