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Medicaid expansion amendment gathers 63,000 petitions

It added another 10,000 signatures in a week.

A proposed constitutional amendment that would expand Medicaid coverage in Florida has turned in another 10,000 signatures over the past week.

According to Florida Division of Elections records, political committee Florida Decides Healthcare Inc. has now submitted 63,714 valid petition signatures to county supervisors of elections.

On May 7, it had collected 53,258 signatures.

The proposed amendment would expand Medicaid eligibility to those earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The federal poverty level is currently $12,140 for individuals, with each family member adding $4,320 to that total.

The total brings the committee within striking distance of hitting the threshold for a review of the ballot language by the Florida Supreme Court. Proposed amendments are reviewed by the state’s high court upon gathering 76,632 signatures — about 10 percent of the total signatures required to make the ballot.

The proposed ballot language: Requires State to provide Medicaid coverage to individuals over age 18 and under age 65 whose incomes are at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level and meet other nonfinancial eligibility requirements, with no greater burdens placed on eligibility, enrollment, or benefits for these newly eligible individuals compared to other Medicaid beneficiaries. Directs Agency for Health Care Administration to implement the initiative by maximizing federal financial participation for newly eligible individuals.

If the language is approved by the Florida Supreme Court and Florida Decides Healthcare Inc. goes on to collect the 766,200 signatures needed to make the ballot, the amendment will go before voters on Election Day 2020.

Campaign finance data shows Florida Decides Healthcare Inc. has not raised or spent any money as of April 30, though it has received nearly $500,000 worth of “in-kind” support.

Washington-based outfit The Fairness Project is the source of $291,000 of those goods and services, with about $180,000 of those funds going toward petition gathering.

Also chipping in are the SEIU Florida State Council, Organize Florida, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida, and Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida.

Ballot amendments must earn at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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