A bill which would prevent a single-payer healthcare system from being enacted in Florida unless approved by a supermajority of Florida’s legislators advanced to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Health and Human Services during the Legislature’s first week of committee meetings last week.
The bill’s sponsor, Senator Manny Diaz Jr. (District 36), put forward SB 340 as a preemptive strike against any potential moves by the incoming Biden administration and/or Florida Democrats to expand Medicaid and allow a state-level single-payer healthcare system.
He told The Capitolist, “The new administration and the democrats in congress have discussed a single-payer system as part of their platform at different junctures of this last campaign. We need to be clear and set up our state in a posture to protect our residents and their private health insurance. I view a single-payer system as a socialist government run program that would lower the quality of care for our residents dramatically. I believe that this system would place our resident’s current plans at risk.”
Although the Affordable Care Act (ACA) explicitly allows for waivers to use federal funds for Medicaid and for the exchanges to establish a state-level single-payer health system, many experts think it is highly unlikely.
According to a post-election Politico article on President-elect Joe Biden’s healthcare policy, “His campaign promise to lower Medicare’s eligibility age and advance a robust public option to compete with private health insurance was seen as an olive branch to progressives agitating for a total government overhaul like ‘Medicare for All.’
“But Biden’s more incremental approach still will face opposition from Republicans and powerful health care lobbies, which have spent the past two years preparing a furious assault against further expansion of government coverage if Democrats took back control of Washington. Republicans certainly won’t support a public option, and Democrats’ narrow majorities in both congressional chambers leave Biden with little room for error.”
In Morningstar’s Investor’s Guide to the Biden Administration, “While activists may float this idea, we think that is very unlikely to happen, because a willing state would need the political capital and financial resources to find major additional funding for such a scheme. As states typically must balance their budgets, this would require raising taxes. Moreover, most states are in poor fiscal shape due to the pandemic.”
And Florida is far from being a “willing state,” with Republicans trouncing Democrats across the state during the November election.
However, it may not always be that way and Republicans like Diaz recognize that.
The razor-thin victory of Ron DeSantis over single-payer advocate Andrew Gillum in the 2018 gubernatorial campaign has not been forgotten and a new election for Governor looms in the near future.
Already there are rumors that Anna V. Eskamani, (District 47) and 2018 gubernatorial candidate Gwen Graham may run for Governor in 2022. Both are strong advocates for the single-payer system and have vowed to fight to expand Medicaid.