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Press Statement: Build Back Better Framework Finally Expands Access to Health Care for Floridians

For Immediate Release

October 28, 2021


Contact: Louisa McQueeney, louisa@healthyfla.org, 561-302-0345

Build Back Better Framework Accomplishes What Florida Has Failed To: Expand Health Coverage to Low-Income Floridians

Historic opportunity for more than 425,000 Floridians to gain health coverage.


Tallahassee – President Biden’s Build Back Better framework released today “will deliver health care coverage through Affordable Care Act premium tax credits to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have locked them out of Medicaid.” This includes close to half a million Floridians who currently earn income below the poverty level, but still do not qualify for Medicaid in our state.


This fix has been a long time in the making and is much needed. Under the current Medicaid program, parents who earn as little as $7,000 a year for a family of three have not been eligible for any health coverage. And adults who don’t have children have not qualified for Medicaid, no matter how little they make. So until now, for these Floridians to obtain health insurance, they would have to pay full price in the private market, which could be more than they earn in a year.


As one of the last states to expand, Florida has left billions of federal dollars on the table, but more importantly have left hard-working residents without access to care. The challenges endured by Floridians like Christina and Alison, show why closing the coverage gap is more important than ever.

Health Care for Florida, a coalition of community and advocacy organizations, stand in support of this framework as a way to meet the needs of Florida’s workers and vulnerable communities. A recent report by Georgetown University Center for Children and Families found that almost half of all adults working in Florida without health insurance are employed in the hospitality, retail, and administrative/support/waste management service industries. These include cashiers, cooks, waiters and waitresses, retail salespersons, and construction workers, all essential jobs during the pandemic.

"With our state leaders unwilling to act on behalf of these residents, we look to our leaders in Congress to secure access to health coverage for those who are without. It's time to close the coverage gap once and for all,” said Alison Yager, executive director of Florida Health Justice Project.

"The need for health care has always been there. With Medicaid expansion on the table during a global pandemic, there’s no better time to do something about it,” said Scott Darius, executive director of Florida Voices for Health.


“For the Floridians trapped in the health coverage gap and living on the edge of financial ruin, a solution can’t come soon enough. The Marketplace-based policy in the Build Back Better framework released today, though not a perfect or permanent solution, will have near-immediate life-changing effects for over 425,000 of our neighbors. We urge Congress to swiftly pass the Build Back Better framework and finally bring relief to our fellow Floridians,” said Sadaf Knight, CEO of Florida Policy Institute.


Even with the evidence showing the benefits of expansion and $3 billion in incentives included in the American Rescue Plan, Florida and 11 other states have refused to expand coverage. Because of inaction in Tallahassee, Floridians are now counting on Congress for relief for those who need it most. The Health Care for Florida coalition calls upon Florida’s Congressional delegation to do everything within their power to ensure the Build Back Better framework released today becomes reality

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