Medicaid Expansion Divides Florida GOP

Medicaid Expansion Divides Florida GOP

As the Florida legislature convened this week, House Speaker Will Weatherford helped rally fellow Republicans opposed to expanding the state’s Medicaid coverage to more than a million low-income residents, but he also acknowledged that his own family benefitted from a program for low-income families without health insurance.

The dispute over the Medicaid expansion sanctioned by the federal health law has engulfed the state Republican Party, which controls the House, Senate and governor’s office, and left the fate of expansion in doubt.

In voicing his opposition to the move, Weatherford Tuesday told a personal story of how, when he was 15, his 13-month-old brother Peter was dying of cancer.

“I don’t know the specifics of what happened. I know my brother had cancer, I know we were uninsured and I know we weren’t able to pay the bills,” he said.

Weatherford said the family relied on safety-net and charity services, like the Ronald McDonald House, where they stayed during trips to the hospital. The speaker neglected to say what other “safety net” services the family received.

Read more about Medicaid expansion here: http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Stories/2013/March/07/Florida-Republicans-Medicaid-expansion-dispute.aspx