The expansion of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "Obamacare" remains a goal of Democratic leaders and elected officials. Several of Florida's own Democrats have taken charge on this issue. On July 15th, a letter crossed the desks of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spelling out this objective. Representative Darren Soto (D-FL) tweeted the letter, of which he was one of its signers.
It’s time for @SenateDems to expand #Obamacare to cover #MedicaidGap in Florida & other states!
This would expand health insurance to nearly 1 Million Floridians falling in the gap.
It’s a critical part of #BuildBackBetter agenda! See our letter ⬇️ #UnitedWeStand pic.twitter.com/0Bx43IfoUy
— Rep. Darren Soto (@RepDarrenSoto) July 26, 2022
"It’s time for @SenateDems to expand #Obamacare to cover #MedicaidGap in Florida & other states! This would expand health insurance to nearly 1 Million Floridians falling in the gap. It’s a critical part of #BuildBackBetter agenda! See our letter," stated Soto.
As the letter demonstrates, a majority of its signers are Democratic Representatives of Florida. These include Val Demings, Charlie Crist, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, Al Lawson, Stephanie Murphy, Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick, Lois Frankel, and Ted Deutch.
Cursory examination of the letter speaks of enhancing cost-sharing assistance and of expanding tax credits to 100% below federal poverty level (FPL). Naturally, the letter includes mention of expanding abortion access to states. While Soto himself does not speak of this in his own tweet, his fellow signer Kathy Castor (D-FL) certainly made up for him in several tweets of her own later that evening. Another Democratic talking point featured in the letter is, of course, race. Subsequently, one claim is that 60% of people Medicaid expansion intends to cover are Black, Hispanic, Asian, or Pacific Islander. Additionally, Obamacare expansion would supposedly narrow the racial disparities of uninsured Americans and those who suffer chronic illnesses.
Overall, the picture painted by this letter is that Florida Democrats are all-in on expanding Obamacare rather than reforming it. The only Florida Democrat to have expressed criticism of the ACA in recent years was former Rep. Debbie Marcusel-Powell, who called the Act "costly" and "unaffordable." And that was three years ago. A poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation published in April suggests that the public is roughly split on Obamacare, though favorability is higher at 55%. Those against the ACA cite costs similarly to Marcusel-Powell.