July 6, 2011

Florida’s rejection of at least $54 million in federal dollars for health-care reform hurts Florida in two ways.  Refusing federal money allocated for Florida not only deprives Floridians of necessary services, but also delivers another small blow to a state economy already struggling to create jobs.

The decision to turn down the money, made by the governor and legislature to be consistent with their legal challenge to the Affordable Care Act, conflicts with the overall welfare of Floridians. Furthermore, declining the money results in the federal government redirecting it to another state, even though a portion of it came from Florida taxpayers.

The refused money, contained in several grants, would have provided:

* hospice care for children

* aid to help elderly and disabled Floridians get out of nursing homes and return to their homes

* help for low-income seniors to buy medication

* home visiting with at-risk families

* funding to promote healthy lifestyles and help those with chronic illnesses

* financial assistance with setting up a health insurance exchange program and to monitor health insurance rates

Refusing the money also will do harm to the highest priority of state leadership:  creating new jobs.

Although estimating economic and employment impacts is an inexact science, the fact is that money flowing into a state from external sources recirculates through the economy, creating a multiplier effect.

Most of each dollar paid to a business or worker is spent again for payment of expenses before the money leaks out of the state and no longer adds to the state economy.

Applying a conservative multiplier of 1.5 means that the $54 million in foregone revenue would have generated an additional $27 million of economic activity, for a total of $81 million in indirect and direct benefits.

At the state’s per capita income of about $39,000, the rejected money would have created or supported more than 2,000 jobs as it flowed through the state’s economy.  That number of jobs isn’t huge compared to the more than 900,000 unemployed Floridians, but each job is important in helping put the jobless back to work.

The choice to decline federal money for ideological reasons is shortsighted.  It results in both health services not delivered to Floridians and jobs not created for them. 

July 8, 2011 at 15:32
To whom it may concern,

I'm taking direct offense to this article implying that children will not get Hospice Service because Florida rejected the money. The reason I'm taking offense is because children in Florida are receiving Hospice Services. How do I know well its because my daughter receives Hospice service's via The Hospice of the Suncoast.

Another offence I have with this article is, 'help elderly and disabled Floridians get out of nursing homes and return to their homes' People in nursing homes have access to help to get out of nursing home but nursing home owners don't tell them how to go about doing this why because it means they would lose money.

I'm glad the State of Florida, Governor Scott, and legislature refused the money. Why because that money comes with STRINGS that violate our Constitutional Rights. Which means more Government in our PERSONAL lives.
July 8, 2011 at 15:38
Thanks for your comments. Some of the money was for hospice care for children, but we did not imply that no hospice care is occurring.

Similarly, some of the refused money was to be directed toward helping people move out of nursing homes.
July 10, 2011 at 11:45
It is especially dissapointing that our governor is taking the state back to the stone age given that the economy creted only 18,000 jobs last quarter.
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