Friday, 05 June 2015 00:00

If Montana can expand healthcare, Florida can, too

Written by Steve Bullock | The Miami Herlad

At first glance, Florida and Montana don’t seem to have much in common. Florida is home to beautiful beaches and the subtropical Everglades; in Montana, we’re better known for our blue-ribbon trout streams and glacial mountain peaks.

But the truth is Floridians and Montanans have more in common than you might think. Both are fed up with partisan gridlock in D.C., and look to their state leaders to find common ground, pursue compromise and move forward solutions that improve the health of their economy, their communities and their residents. Both recognize a good deal when they see one and demand fiscal responsibility from their leaders. Both Florida and Montana have Republican majorities in their state House and Senate. And although I proudly serve as a Democratic governor, I do so in a state where President Obama only got 42 percent of the vote in 2012.

Right now, Florida has the opportunity, like Montana recently did, to find a compromise that will bring your federal tax dollars back home to expand health coverage to more than 800,000 uninsured residents, at little to no cost to the state, while throwing a lifeline to hospitals and reducing the cost-shifting that threatens small businesses while driving up rates on those fortunate enough to have health insurance.

In April, I signed the Montana HELP Act into law, extending access to affordable healthcare coverage to more than 70,000 Montanans, and making Montana the 29th state, plus the District of Columbia, to expand Medicaid. Passing this legislation was not easy — it took years of difficult bipartisan compromise to come up with a Montana-based solution. Ultimately enough Republicans and Democrats recognized that finding a solution was literally a matter of life or death for too many hardworking residents.

As with all compromises, no one got everything they wanted. But by working together, we built a plan that will benefit the people of Montana and our economy, and I’m confident that the federal government will recognize the same truth we did — that doing nothing is not an acceptable option for the residents, hospitals, businesses or communities of our state.

I’ve been discouraged as I’ve watched other states, including Florida, allow this discussion to get mired in partisan politics. This is far too important to become the victim of rigid ideology that all too often dominates Washington, D.C. Residents expect their state leaders to deliver solutions for the people of their state.

A Montana physician made the best case for bringing these dollars home to expand health coverage when he said, “Illness does not know political party.” It’s with this in mind that I teamed up with a conservative Republican legislator to put together a plan that would address the concerns of all involved and ensure we were taking advantage of the opportunity to extend coverage to those who need it most.

Political grandstanding might make for great soundbites for the evening news, but it will do nothing to help the people that go to work every day knowing that they’re one health emergency away from bankruptcy. It will do nothing to help the hospitals struggling to keep their doors open under the crushing cost of uncompensated care. And unlike Medicaid expansion, partisan rhetoric doesn’t create jobs and support the economy.

I hope that Florida will take a page out of Montana’s book and find a solution to this challenge that will fit its unique needs and benefit the state’s residents.

Ultimately, the decision to expand Medicaid is one of common sense and necessity; the facts make it clear that it is good for state economies, good for hospitals and good for the people who need healthcare coverage. I fully understand how hard it is and how long it can take to reach a compromise, but the alternative should be unacceptable to elected officials everywhere.

Steve Bullock is the governor of Montana.

Link to original article from The Miami Herald

Read 5555 times Last modified on Friday, 05 June 2015 17:26

Latest Medicaid Expansion News

  • 1
  • 2

Email President Obama Stop the Dakota Access Pipeline

Featured News

  • Veterans Arrive at Standing Rock to Act as 'Human Shields' for Water Protectors +

    As tensions grow in North Dakota, with multiple eviction orders facing the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their battle against Read More
  • Michigan Fights To Avoid Delivering Water To Flint Residents +

    The ongoing crisis has left the city without safe drinking water for over two years, but the state claims water Read More
  • The System IS Rigged!—The Electoral College and the 2016 Election +

    Donald Trump was right: the system is rigged! But it is rigged for the Republicans, not the Democrats, for conservatives, Read More
  • BREAKING: Cop Who Shot Keith Scott on Video Will Not Be Charged +

    The Charlotte police officer who killed Keith Lamont Scott will not be charged. In a news conference on Wednesday, R. Andrew Read More
  • Army Corps Says It Won’t Forcibly Evict Standing Rock Water Protectors, But Refuse To Elaborate +

    In a follow-up of its letter to leaders of the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribes, the U.S. Read More
  • DAPL Investors Getting Antsy: If Pipeline Doesn’t Move Oil by January First the Contract EXPIRES +

    Though water protectors have held their ground at Standing Rock against the Dakota Access pipeline for months now, they need Read More
  • WV Supreme Court: No Pipeline Surveys for Private Gain +

    West Virginia property owners won an important case at the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals on Tuesday when that Read More
  • Clinton Campaign Joins Jill Stein’s Recount Of Votes In Wisconsin +

    Hillary Clinton’s campaign on Saturday announced they would participate in former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s recount of the Read More
  • Sioux Tribe Leader Responds to Army Corps Eviction Letter With Ominous Warning to US Gov’t +

    In response to the altogether shocking announcement the Army Corps of Engineers will be evicting water protectors from the Oceti Read More
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22

Where Does Your Legislator Stand on the ERA?


Featured Medicaid Expansion News

  • Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards’ Medicaid expansion timeline hits bump in road; here's what's next +

    On the campaign trial, Gov.-elect John Bel Edwards promised time and again that he would expand the rolls of Medicaid Read More
  • Closure of BR emergency room should serve as warning to all states that rejected Medicaid expansion, Bloomberg reports +

    In a new feature, Bloomberg zeros in on the impending closure of Baton Rouge General Medical Center’s Mid City emergency Read More
  • Haslam calls special session for Insure Tennessee +

    Gov. Bill Haslam is calling a special session of the legislature to hear his answer to Medicaid expansion: "Insure Tennessee," Read More
  • Medicaid Fight: Why So Many Black Folks Are Stlll Uninsured +

    Despite the widespread success of the Affordable Care Act in signing up the uninsured, a few stubborn states that refuse Read More
  • Early Impacts of the Medicaid Expansion for the Homeless Population +

    The Affordable Care Act (ACA) Medicaid expansion offers a significant opportunity to increase coverage and improve access to care for Read More
  • ‘State Capitol Seven’ arrested for trespassing after demonstration to urge Governor to approve Medicaid expansion +

    Let me begin this news article by saying that this is not an “objective news story” but a first person Read More
  • Support for Medicaid expansion grows in the South +

    Date on which the North Carolina NAACP held a mock funeral in Raleigh to protest North Carolina politicians' refusal to Read More
  • US Senate candidate Thom Tillis reverses course, urges NC to consider expanding Medicaid +

    In last spring’s Republican primary, U.S. Senate candidate Thom Tillis ran an ad touting his fight against an expanded Medicaid Read More
  • Hospitals In States That Won't Expand Medicaid Left With More Unpaid Bills +

    States that refuse to accept Obamacare's Medicaid expansion aren't just leaving behind poor residents, they're also hurting hospitals' bottom lines. Read More
  • 1
  • 2