Ballot Proposal To Expand Medicaid Pushed Back To 2022

A political committee seeking to pass a constitutional amendment that would expand Medicaid eligibility has decided to push back the proposal to 2022.

The committee Florida Decides Healthcare had originally planned to try to take the measure to voters next year, but The News Service of Florida reported last month that the group was considering a delay to 2022 because of questions about whether it could meet deadlines.

Dan Newman, a spokesman for the committee, said in a prepared statement Friday that changes made by the Legislature this year “created confusion and uncertainty in the funding community,” leading to the decision to wait until 2022.

Those legislative changes, in part, made it more difficult to meet petition-signature requirements for citizens’ initiatives.

“The voter-led campaign to expand Medicaid isn’t going anywhere,” Newman said. “We were hustling to put health care directly on the 2020 ballot because it is clear that Floridians overwhelmingly support Medicaid expansion, but state legislative changes at the end of the (legislative) session just made that a hill too steep to climb.”

Backers of proposed constitutional amendments need to submit at least 766,200 valid petition signatures to get on the 2020 ballot; as of Friday, the state had received 79,708 signatures for the Medicaid initiative.

The proposed amendment would offer Medicaid coverage to low-income adults who currently are not eligible.

Florida lawmakers have repeatedly rejected such an expansion, which is optional for states as part of the federal Affordable Care Act.

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