Public Meeting on Healthcare/Medicaid Expansion Called by Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation

Rep.  Mark S. Pafford (D - District 86), Delegation Chair Rep.  Patrick Rooney, Jr.  (R - District 85), Delegation Vice-ChairThe Palm Beach County, Florida State Legislative Delegation has announced that it will hold a public meeting on July 15, 2013, to hear comments from the public on the topic of Healthcare/ Medicaid Expansion under the new federal Health Care Law.

The Florida State Legislative Delegation is headed by State Rep. Mark S. Pafford (D), Delegation Chair, who represents Florida District 86, and State Rep. Pat Rooney, Jr. (R), Delegation Vice-Chair, who represents Florida District 85, both in the Florida House of Representatives.
 
Pictured: Rep. Mark S. Pafford (D – District 86), Delegation Chair (left);
Rep. Patrick Rooney, Jr. (R – District 85), Delegation Vice-Chair (right).

According to information on its website, “The Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Office is a nonpartisan office that serves all seventeen members of the Florida Senate and House of Representatives who represent Palm Beach County in Tallahassee.”

The public meeting on Healthcare/ Medicaid Expansion will be held from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM on Monday, July 15, 2013, at:

PALM BEACH COUNTY GOVERNMENT CENTER
COUNTY COMMISSION CHAMBER, 6TH FLOOR
301 N. OLIVE AVENUE
WEST PALM BEACH, FL 33401

See a Draft Agenda for the meeting and a Flyer announcing the meeting (further below), both circulated by the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Office.

Background on Medicaid Expansion

The issue of whether Florida will opt in to the extensive Medicaid Expansion provided under the federal Health Care Law has been hotly debated in the Florida Legislature, which must pass legislation to determine whether Florida will opt in.

Under the federal Health Care Law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court, each state has the option to opt in to the Medicaid Expansion under the law, which would provide Medicaid coverage for people with incomes up to approximately 133% of the poverty line. For states that opt in, the federal government will pay 100% of the cost of the Medicaid Expansion for the first three years, after which the federal portion of the funding would gradually decrease to 90%, with the balance to be picked up by the state.

According to recent reporting by Hartland Health Care News, a majority of Senators in the Florida State Senate, including all Democrats and several Republicans, are thought to favor the Medicaid Expansion under the Health Care law. However, in the Florida House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans, a majority of the conservative Republicans oppose the Medicaid Expansion. “The Florida legislature could not resolve conflicting proposals, and the state’s legislative term came to an end with no action on the expansion,” according to a report published July 2, 2013 by Hartland Health Care News.

Florida’s Republican Governor, Rick Scott, announced in February that he supported expanding Medicaid under President Obama’s Health Care Law. In his March 5 State of the State address, Gov. Scott said, “Our options are either having Floridians pay to fund this program in other states while denying health care to our citizens, or using federal funding to help some of the poorest in our state with the Medicaid program as we explore other health care improvement.”

“As I wrestled with this decision,” Gov. Scott said, “I thought about my Mom and her struggles to get my little brother the care he needed with very little money. I concluded that for the three years the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care.”

Nevertheless, “Grassroots conservatives are very active pressuring Republican legislators not to pass Obamacaid [the term such conservatives use to describe the Medicaid Expansion under the Health Care Law], and Republican legislators are taking notice,” Tom Lauder, a reporter for Media Trackers Florida, told Hartland Health Care News.

The issue remains hotly debated in Florida.

Details on the July 15 Public Meeting Called by the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation

Following is a flyer announcing the event, circulated by the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Office:

Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation - Announcement of Meeting on Medicaid Expansion

In an e-mail announcement of the July 15 meeting, Rachel Merlan, Executive Director of the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Office, said,

“This is an event being put on by the PBC Legislative Delegation and not by any other entity, partisan or otherwise. It is a general discussion on an issue that is on the minds of many Palm Beach County residents. This is just an opportunity for the PBC Legislative Delegation Members to hear from their constituents. We are hoping to hear from two presenters (both legislators), who will present the Senate plan and the House plan. This is for informational purposes only.

All public comment will be done in a fair manner – with the usual 3 minute time limit per person. Due to limited time constraints, we are requesting that all larger entities/groups designate one person to speak on their behalf as to allow for everyone who wants to provide comment an opportunity to do so. A DRAFT agenda is also attached to provide you with an idea of how this meeting will be run, as we’ve had numerous callers requesting to be placed on the agenda. All public comment will be conducted as we have done during every other public hearing – as we receive each individual’s filled out public comment form the day of the meeting.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time.

Thanks so much,

Rachael

Rachael O. Merlan
Executive Director
Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation
301 North Olive Avenue
Suite 1101.11
West Palm Beach, FL 33401
Office: 561.355.2406
Fax: 561.242.7171
rmerlan@pbcgov.org

www.PalmBeachDelegation.com

According to information published on its website, the Palm Beach County Legislative Delegation Office “is responsible for: scheduling and coordinating all delegation meetings in Palm Beach County and Tallahassee; developing the delegation’s legislative program which includes all local bills, community appropriation requests and county and municipal legislative priorities; providing legislative assistance and research to the delegation during the legislative session; and serving as a liaison between the delegation and local governments and community organizations.”

“At the end of each legislative session, a comprehensive report is published by the delegation for all county, municipal and federal offices, as well as other interested parties, which reviews all local bills and appropriations affecting Palm Beach County, and general bills passed by Palm Beach County Delegation members.”

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This Event Announcement is provided as a public service by HelpingYouCare®.

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More Information

For more news and information about the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature Health Care Law, and about health care reform, see the HelpingYouCare® resource pages on VoicesForCare™, including:

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Copyright © 2013 Care-Help LLC, publisher of HelpingYouCare® in original content by HelpingYouCare® only.

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