08 Mar Health care workers criticize Weatherford on Medicaid expansion
Using characters from the “Wizard of Oz” to drive their point, health care workers rallied at the Capitol today in support of Medicaid expansion. Alongside men dressed in costumes to portray the Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tin Man, speakers encouraged Republican lawmakers to “have a heart,” “have courage” and “use your brain” when considering Medicaid expansion.
The harshest words were saved for House Speaker Will Weatherford, who opposes accepting federal dollars to grow Medicaid even after the revelation that his own family once utilized the program to pay medical bills.
“It’s really about fairness and equity. Let’s ensure that people in this state who make $26,000 or less will have the same health care that the speaker’s family had,” said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, to cheers from the crowd. The rally was sponsored by the South Florida chapter of union SEIU, and over 300 people attended.
“Let’s not be a hypocrite,” executive vice president Monica Russo said later. “Your family needed health care at a very critical and difficult moment in the life of their family. And hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt could have been the answer, but Medicaid covered their expenses. We’re not askng for anything more than what the Weatherford family had access to.”