HIALEAH (CBSMiami) – Hialeah Republican state Senator Rene Garcia is once again trying to secure $51 billion in Medicaid funding available to the state under the Affordable Care Act.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, Garcia will file legislation that would use the money to buy private insurance policies for poor Floridians.
Garcia’s plan mirrors one he put forth last year that had the support of the GOP-led Senate and Republican Governor Rick Scott, along with House Democrats.
However, the GOP-led House never took up the measure and it died. A competing proposal from the House was supported by the GOP caucus in the House and rejected any federal money, according to the Times.
“I hope the House puts aside partisan politics and does what is right for the hard working people of our great state,” Garcia told the Times.
The Medicare expansion that’s part of the Affordable Care Act was originally going to be mandatory. However, the Supreme Court said states could reject the expansion if they so choose. Many Republican-led states immediately rejected the expansion of Medicaid.
Among those states rejecting the aid were Texas and Florida, which lead the nation in citizens without health insurance. The rejection of the federal aid (the federal government pays at least 90 percent of the expansion) has left a coverage hole for almost five million Americans who make too much for Medicaid and don’t qualify for federal subsidies.
Senator Garcia pointed out in a press release that Florida wouldn’t be the first Republican-led state to expand Medicaid. Kentucky, one of the only deep South states to expand Medicaid and run its own health care-exchange, has seen large numbers of citizens flock to both plans.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the legislation from Garcia is in the “final proofing stages” and will “be posted soon.”