Congresswoman Corrine Brown and several state legislators rallied in front of Jacksonville hospital on Monday. The Democratic lawmakers declared opposition to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s refusal to expand Medicaid.
If the Medicaid debate goes unresolved, Brown warns it might fall on local taxpayers to keep hospitals operating.
Congresswoman Brown stood outside UF Health Jax with a jar of dollar bills. One by one, she pulled them out to show how the federal government is spending some of it on Floridians through programs like federal housing assistance.
“This represents Florida tax dollars,” said Brown. “I can’t understand why you don’t want $55 billion of tax dollars for over 2 million Floridians that need healthcare.”
UF Health Jacksonville’s CEO says it will close without the additional federal funding. It’s the only Level One Trauma center in Northeast Florida which, as Brown says, makes it crucial.
“This is a very important part of our fabric,” she said. “We are going to work to make sure that it does not close.”
But if Florida doesn’t accept help in the form of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, Brown says hospitals like UF Health will need help from the community.
“Local taxpayers are going to have to come up to the plate if the state doesn’t do its job,” Brown said.
The state Legislature will start a special session on June 1. The Florida Senate’s plan to expand Medicaid is on the agenda, but the House and Governor Scott continue to oppose it.