Democrats seek vote on Medicaid expansion


Two Democratic lawmakers Thursday called for voters to decide next year whether Florida should expand the Medicaid program under the federal Affordable Care Act.

Sen. Annette Taddeo, D-Miami, and Rep. Lori Berman, D-Lantana, held a news conference at the Capitol to discuss proposed constitutional amendments (SJR 1136 and HJR 911) that would put the Medicaid expansion issue on the 2018 ballot.

The proposed constitutional amendments, however, would need approval from the Republican-dominated Legislature, which has rejected past attempts to expand Medicaid.

Supporters say a Medicaid expansion would provide health coverage to more than 800,000 additional low-income residents.

Berman said people who work in low-wage jobs are stuck between earning too much to qualify for government assistance and earning too little to afford monthly insurance premiums.

“They don't have enough money to pay for health care, but they are working,” Berman said. “In effect, they are being penalized for working because oftentimes the non-working people are the ones who do qualify for Medicaid. These people are working, and out there in the community.”

Taddeo and Berman filed the proposed constitutional amendments this week.