News conference on Medicaid turns into sit-in

Published On: Apr 15 2013 03:04:53 PM EDT

A press conference on Medicaid expansion in Florida evolved into an impromptu but short sit-in at House Speaker Will Weatherford's office led by the retired marshal of the Florida Supreme Court.

Retired Marshal Wilson Barnes on Tuesday led a small group of activists into the office's lobby.

He said he wanted to ask Weatherford why he wouldn't go along with a federally-financed expansion of Medicaid to insure more than 1 million Floridians currently without health insurance.

Barnes also is a Vietnam veteran covered by veterans' insurance.

U.S. Rep. Corrine Brown, D-Jacksonville, said the money was sent to Washington by Floridians and it doesn’t make sense to turn it down.

"You need to understand that the $53 billion are our tax dollars that we've sent to Washington that we want it back. Simple math," Brown said.

Chief of Staff Kathy Mears eventually led them to a conference room where they all met briefly. Reporters were denied entry to the meeting.

Barnes later said he appreciated being able to speak with Weatherford but that they agreed to disagree.