Health care is Republican primary voters second most important issue — and one of the top issues this cycle among Floridians. But you wouldn’t know it from watching Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam. Both candidates have refused to lay out a substantive health care plan to expand coverage for Floridians.
Instead of laying out a plan, DeSantis and Putnam have simply supported the Trump administration’s efforts to take away health care from 1.5 million Floridians, scrap protections for pre-existing conditions, and deny expanding coverage for 800,000 Floridians.
What’s clear is that if elected governor, both candidates would deny health care to hundreds of thousands of Floridians.
DeSantis and Putnam Both Oppose Expandig Health Care to 800,000 Floridians
DeSantis and Putnam Firmly Oppose Medicaid Expansion. According to the Miami Herald, “While the leading Democratic candidates for governor back expansion, the top Republican candidates, including state agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, are firmly against it. The state’s primary election is Aug. 28.” [Miami Herald, 7/6/18]
Bradenton Herald: 800,000 vulnerable Floridians in coverage gap as Medicaid expansion issue debated. [Bradenton Herald, 4/12/15]
CDC: Florida Has Third-Highest Percentage of Uninsured Adults in the Country, 20.1 Percent. According to Politico, “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that Florida has the third-highest percentage of uninsured adults in the country: 20.1 percent in 2017. That’s up from 19.8 percent in 2016. The average percentage of uninsured adults in non-expansion states was 19 percent in 2017, more than double the average uninsured percentage in expansion states: 9.1 percent. And while non-expansion states’ uninsured percentages are ticking up, expansion states’ uninsured percentages are continuing to decline.” [Politico, 5/22/18]
In May 2017, DeSantis Voted for the American Health Care Act – Trumpcare. In May 2017, DeSantis voted for HR 1628, the American Health Care Act. The AHCA passed 217-213. According to a Tampa Bay Times editorial, “Second, do not believe the assertions by Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan that the Republican legislation protects people with pre-existing conditions who are guaranteed coverage now. The Affordable Care Act requires insurers to charge the same price for coverage regardless of pre-existing conditions, and the Republican legislation does not do that. Instead, it allows states to waive that rule for people with lapses in coverage, which often happens when they change jobs or move. And instead of having access to affordable, private coverage, people with pre-existing conditions could be forced to seek coverage in state-run high-risk pools, which would be far more expensive and provide fewer benefits.” [HR 1628, Vote #256, 5/4/17; Tampa Bay Times, editorial, 5/4/17]
In September 2017, Putnam Issued a Statement Supporting Trumpcare. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “Adam Putnam, the Florida Agriculture Commissioner who declared his candidacy in May, issued the following statement: ‘Obamacare has hurt Florida – it has destroyed jobs, cost businesses money and cut Floridians’ access to healthcare. Prices are going up, and choices are going down. Currently, Floridians in 47 of our 67 counties have just one insurer to choose from in the Obamacare marketplace. We must replace Obamacare with a solution that puts Floridians first, one that ensures Floridians have access to high quality healthcare at an affordable price by increasing competition in the marketplace. Congress needs to focus, for once, and get this done.'” [Tampa Bay Times, 9/21/17]
Under the Senate BCRA, 1.5 Million Floridians Could Lose Health Care, Increasing the Uninsurance Rate By 62%. According to a Robert Wood Johnson-Urban Institute study, “The number of uninsured people would increase in every state under the BCRA, with the largest increases in large population states and states that saw the greatest coverage gains under the ACA (Table 2 and additional detail on uninsured in Table 3). For example, the uninsurance rate in Florida would increase from 15.0 percent under the ACA to 24.3 percent under the BCRA, a 62.0 percent increase (1.5 million additional uninsured people).” [Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – Urban Institute, 6/2017]
AARP: Florida is “Ground Zero” for the GOP Health Plan, Residents Age 50 to 64 Could Pay Hundreds or Thousands More For Coverage. According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Calling Florida ‘ground zero’ for the impact of the GOP’s proposed health care plan, the AARP warned Thursday that more than 450,000 of the state’s residents age 50 to 64 would pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars more each year for coverage. The nonpartisan advocacy organization also said Florida would be the nation’s hardest hit by the plan’s so-called ‘age tax’ — which allows insurance companies to charge older policyholders up to five times as much as younger ones.” [Orlando Sentinel, 3/16/17]
Putnam Argued to a Constituent: “But You Would Concede That You Have Health Care (By Going to the Emergency Room)?” According to the Lakeland Ledger, “Rep. Adam Putnam told a crowd of about 300 constituents Monday night that he opposes most of the Democrats’ plans for health care reform, especially the public option. Not everyone at the town hall meeting agreed with him. James Davis of Bartow wound up in a mild debate over the public option with the Republican congressman from Bartow. Those not having health care insurance are costing taxpayers and those paying for their own insurance, he said. ‘We are paying (for them) anyway,’ Davis said. ‘If I have no insurance and have to go to the emergency room, (taxpayers) are paying for it.’ Putnam countered by saying ‘but you would concede that you have health care (by going to the emergency room)?'” [Lakeland Ledger, 10/27/09]
At a CNN Town Hall, DeSantis Said a Woman Suffering From Cancer, Could Just “Show Up to the Emergency Room, They Do Get Care.” According to MSNBC, “Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.), a member of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, talked to CNN’s Erin Burnett this week about health care, and his intention to kill the Affordable Care Act. The host pointed to a Republican voter, featured on an earlier segment, who’d be dead if it weren’t for “Obamacare.” She asked for his reaction. DeSantis proceeded to complain about the reform law anyway, before turning to a familiar GOP refrain:”I would say though … there really is no lack of health care. If people really need it, if they show up to the emergency room, they do get care, it just gets passed on to other folks.” The host pointed to the fact that woman in question had $1 million in cancer treatments, adding, “You’re not going to get that by showing up in an emergency room.” DeSantis then changed the subject.” [MSNBC, 3/12/17]