Long shot bid to consider Medicaid expansion during Special Session shot down
TALLAHASSEE, FLA. 2/6/23-Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa, attempts to introduce two bills outside the call of Special Session B, Monday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Her motions were defeated. COLIN HACKLEY PHOTO

'They need to know that we hear their cries and we hear the very sad stories about affordability that are happening in the state right now.'

House Republicans quickly rejected a long shot bid to consider a Medicaid expansion in a Special Session being held this week on several topics including a proposed state takeover of Walt Disney World’s self governing district and proposals on immigration and election crimes. 

An attempt by House Democrats to have the Special Session call expanded to include access to health care was shot down on a voice vote.

House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell told Florida Politics that the Democrats tried to expand the Special Session agenda in part to draw a contrast between the Republican majority and the Democratic minority in the House of Representatives.

“In my mind, Special Sessions are supposed to be reserved for issues that are of great public interest and importance and are also time sensitive. I haven’t heard any rationale for why any of the issues that are currently up for this Special Session fall into that category,” said Driskell, a Democrat from Tampa.

“The people of Florida need to know that. They need to know that we hear their cries and we hear the very sad stories about affordability that are happening in the state right now.  And we need them (Republicans) to do the work of the people; to not wage these culture wars and attacks that we are seeing from the Republican majority which frankly don’t do anything to help Floridians be more healthy, prosperous or safe.”

Florida is just one of 11 states that has not expanded Medicaid to childless, low-income adults. The Medicaid expansion was a pivotal portion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The federal law initially required states to expand Medicaid to low income childless adults or lose access to federal Medicaid funds.

But in National Federation of Independent Business v Sebelius, the Supreme Court of the United States held in 2012 that while the law was constitutional, states couldn’t be required to expand Medicaid.

Most states have expanded Medicaid to childless adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Some residents in non-expansion states, such as Florida, continue to have difficulties obtaining health insurance coverage because they don’t earn enough money to qualify for the subsidies that are offered under another part of Obamacare.

Generally speaking, people with incomes between 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level can qualify for a tax subsidy for an Obamacare health plan purchased on a federal health insurance exchange.

People who earn less than 100% of the federal poverty level don’t qualify for the ACA subsidies on the exchange and they don’t qualify for Medicaid.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


  • Tjb

    February 6, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    It will be horrifying if Floridians die because Medicaid Expansion is not implemented in a timely fashion.
    Isn’t protecting lives a public interest of importances?
    DeSantis and his legislative majority should be more concern about saving the lives of the living and not be focus on frivolous issues, such as bogus immigration bills, and election crimes that are virtually insignificant in election outcome.

  • MH/Duuuval

    February 7, 2023 at 12:35 pm

    Today 8 percent of US is uninsured, while 12% of Floridians lack health insurance.

Comments are closed.


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