The Florida Medical Association approved a resolution that endorses the expansion of Medicaid in the state, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
The vote on the politically charged issue was unanimous when it was taken on Sunday in Orlando. According to the Times, the public support for the program exists as long as the program “safeguarded patient access to care while increasing Medicaid payment rates to Medicare levels for all physicians.”
When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was legal, it left it up to states to decide whether or not to expand Medicaid coverage. Many states expanded the government program to give more insurance, but most states in the South have remained firmly opposed to the program.
According to the Times, Florida’s refusal to expand Medicaid has left 800,000 Floridians without health insurance in the so-called coverage gap. The gap exists for those that don’t qualify for Medicaid, but are too poor to qualify for federal tax subsidies to help pay for private insurance.
The Times reported that if Medicaid had been expanded, the federal government would have given the state $51 billion over the next decade.