The Koch brothers are campaigning against Florida state Senate President Andy Gardiner (R-Orlando) and 24 other senators who are working to expand Medicaid. Koch-backed Americans for Prosperity is sending mailers to Gardiner’s district and the districts of the other state senators who support the bill and has plans to ramp up its attack once the bill goes to the floor.
The expansion plan, known as the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange program (FHIX), “includes conservative, free market guardrails that will control the cost and growth” of Medicaid in Florida, said Gardiner. In addition to the income requirements from the Affordable Care Act, FHIX has work and premium requirements:
30 hours a week for childless adults and 20 hours a week for parents of children under 18. Unemployed adults could qualify by spending that time searching for employment, participating in job-training activities or furthering their education. Disabled adults and their caregivers would be exempt.
Another provision of the bill requires beneficiaries to pay a monthly premium based on their salary. The cost for a single person earning less than 22 percent of the federal poverty level — or less than $2,589 in annual income — would be $3 per month. A person earning more than the federal poverty level would pay $25 per month.
Despite these additions, the Kochs are hell-bent on stopping the Medicaid expansion bill. If successful, the AFP’s attacks would leave 800,000 Floridians without care. Sadly, this is just the latest chapter in the Kochs’ history of working against the expansion of Medicaid and undoubtedly, won’t be the last.