U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist hammered into Gov. Ron DeSantis Thursday at a virtual conference with Protect Our Care Florida, promoting the Build Back Better plan and discussing its impact on health care.
Crist, who is challenging DeSantis in the 2022 gubernatorial race, will join members of Congress in voting on President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan some time in the coming days. He has continued to advocate for the inclusion of Medicaid expansion laid out in the plan, which would expand coverage to nearly 1 million Floridians.
“Florida has been offered an additional $3 billion to expand Medicaid and give nearly 1 million of our fellow Floridians access to health care, preventing rural hospitals from closing and lowering costs for everyone,” Crist said.
“When it affects the health and well being of just about every single family in our state, it’s not about right versus left — it’s about right versus wrong,” Crist said. “Now, Florida is ready to get Build Back Better signed, sealed and delivered to continue the progress, lower cost cheaper drugs, cheaper insulin and improve access to care. Who wouldn’t want that?”
Crist noted Florida is one of 12 holdout states that has refused to expand Medicaid. The Congressman slammed DeSantis’ administration for refusing expansion efforts amid pandemic recovery.
“After emerging from another deadly wave of the pandemic, in which Gov. DeSantis’ soft on COVID policies made Florida the global epicenter not once but twice, it boggles the mind why our Governor is still not working on Medicaid expansion,” Crist said.
Crist continued criticizing the upcoming Special Session, which starts Nov. 15, where lawmakers plan to address COVID-19 vaccine policies.
DeSantis, who ordered the Special Session in October, is asking lawmakers to consider legislation to protect employees and job applicants from discrimination over their vaccination status. He also wants the Republican-led Legislature to avail unemployment benefits to people who lose work because of their vaccination status.
“Instead, he’s called a Special Session to ban business owners from doing what they feel is right to protect their customers and their employees. It’s despicable and we will not stand for it,” Crist said. “The people’s House will act for Floridians, even when Gov. DeSantis and his authoritarian regime choose not to. That’s why Build Back Better is about putting people first.”
Crist also promoted the promise to lower prescription drug costs woven into the plan. The Build Back Better Act would include a new agreement to give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices.
Meredith Rosser, a mother of an insulin patient, spoke at the virtual conference, telling the story of her 19-year-old son, who is diabetic and needs insulin to survive. The family pays $120 for three days worth of insulin.
“It’s not a choice. He has to get insulin. And so there’s no negotiating there. And if it’s going to break our bank, then what are we left with? So as a parent, it’s hard,” Rosser said. “The struggles are hard. It’s hard conversations to have with your child. And so, we’ve been advocating for this for many years, since the time he was diagnosed, and it’s time — it’s time that we have real change because this is not a game. My child’s life is not a game.”