The Phoenix Flyer

Health advocates say Biden’s health plan could benefit ‘hundreds of thousands of people in the Sunshine State’

By: - November 19, 2021 3:39 pm

Protestors carry signs as they demonstrate against proposed cuts to health care programs, including Medicaid. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

With the U.S. House approving a bill Friday that includes expansion of Medicaid coverage for low-income people, health care advocates are praising the provision that could help close health coverage gaps for hundreds of thousands of Floridians.

President Joe Biden’s so-called Build Back Better plan addresses Medicaid coverage gaps in non-expansion states, such as Florida, by offering Affordable Care Act premium tax credits to lower costs of coverage through 2025, as previously reported by the Florida Phoenix.

Though most House Democrats pushed the major spending package, some GOP members have pushed back against it. And the bill may have a tough path ahead in the Senate.

“We applaud the House for including funding to close the health care coverage gap through 2025 for people with income below the poverty level, which includes hundreds of thousands of people in the Sunshine State,” Sadaf Knight, Florida Policy Institute (FPI)’s CEO, said in a written statement Friday.

According to Biden’s plan, the health initiative “will deliver health care coverage through Affordable Care Act premium tax credits to up to 4 million uninsured people in states that have locked them out of Medicaid.”

The $1.85 trillion spending bill, headed to the Senate, also includes four weeks of medical and family paid leave for new parents and other caregivers. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy of Florida issued a written statement Thursday in support of the bill, saying “I intend to advance the Build Back Better Act.”

But some GOP groups opposed the landmark legislation and blasted Murphy for supporting it.

“So-called ‘moderate’ Stephanie Murphy’s support for ‘Build Back Broke’ could not be more out-of-touch given the economic hardships Floridians are facing thanks to Joe Biden’s disastrous policies,” Julia Friedland, spokeswoman for  the Republican National Committee, said in a written statement.

Here’s what other advocacy groups and Florida lawmakers are saying about the Build Back Better plan:

/U.S. Rep. Val Demings of Florida said in a written statement:

“Florida families need urgent relief. Transformative access to child care, the biggest expansion of affordable health care in a decade, lower prescription drug prices, cleaner air and water, tax cuts for middle- and working-class families, generational investments in affordable housing, and tens of thousands of great jobs –– that’s what’s coming to Florida as a result of today’s historic passage of the Build Back Better Act.”

In addition, Demings said, “The Senate must move ahead and pass this legislation quickly, including critical provisions to cut prescription drug prices that are desperately needed and widely popular.”

/Florida Watch Executive Director Josh Weierbach said in a written statement:

“The Build Back Better Act is a once-in-a-generation piece of legislation that delivers for the American people. Here in Florida, funding to combat the climate crisis, expanding access to health care, and investing in workforce training will help put our state on a path to a brighter future. Thank you to President Biden, Representative Stephanie Murphy, and all the House Democrats who stepped up to move forward on this vital legislation for our nation.”

/Progress Florida Executive Director Mark Ferrulo said in a written statement:

“Once again, President Joe Biden continues to deliver on his promises to improve the lives of working and middle class Americans, while ensuring that it will be paid for by the wealthiest individuals and corporations. These investments in child and elder care, affordable housing, and the expansion of the child tax credit will be massively important to millions of Floridians and represent Democrats’ commitment to Build Back Better by improving the lives of working families.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.