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Bradenton Herald: Kim Williams: Florida business coalition backs Medicaid expansion

Friday, October 17, 2014

As a member of a statewide business coalition that supports the extension of health care coverage in Florida, I want to commend the Bradenton Herald for its recent editorial highlighting the economic benefits of using available federal funds to cover nearly one million more Floridians.

For too long, politics have guided the direction our state has taken on this issue. It’s time we start looking at what the extension of health care coverage can mean for the people of Florida, the businesses that drive our economy and our state.

I know a lot of business owners out there who wish they could offer any sort of health benefits, but simply can’t afford it. Rising premiums and looming federal tax penalties are big concerns for Florida businesses.

One million more Floridians with health care coverage means a stronger, healthier workforce. It means more than 100,000 new jobs. The State of Florida will save more than $2.5 billion in general revenue. Business owners will save $253 million a year in federal financial penalties and save even more on the “hidden tax” built into health insurance premiums, which covers that cost of uncompensated care.

From my perspective, it shouldn’t be hard to embrace the idea of using the federal funds when you truly understand all the positive impacts. Other states with Republican-led governors and Legislatures are already implementing plans to use available federal funds to provide coverage. Their plans provide health care coverage by using funds that Florida taxpayers have sent to Washington, D.C.

Some lawmakers have said they don’t like the idea of a federal plan. It’s not too late for Florida to craft a solution that works for us. Next month, our coalition will propose a Florida-specific plan to meet our state’s needs. It’s time to put politics aside and do what’s right for our state.

Kim Williams, President, Marpan Supply and Marpan Recycling


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