ORLANDO, Fla. — Those driving on the Beachline near Interstate 4, heading toward Orlando International Airport, may soon spot a new political billboard targeting U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott for their “no” votes on the recent COVID-19 relief bill.
The billboard is being paid for by the Democratic National Committee in an effort to bolster the bill, which included $10 billion for Florida in addition to $1,400 checks for most Floridians.
In addition, the COVID-19 relief bill also includes money for states like Florida to expand Medicaid. But state officials are unlikely to do so.
There are just 12 states that have not expanded Medicaid since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and Florida is one of them.
But as part of the COVID-19 stimulus bill, states like Florida are being offered billions of dollars to expand coverage to residents at 138% the federal poverty line.
“One of the provisions in the bill that Congress just passed would give an additional financial incentive to states that newly take up the Medicaid expansion,” said Jesse Cross-Call, a senior policy analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “This is about $3 billion over two years in additional federal dollars.”
In Florida, where more than 13% of the population is without health care, it’s estimated that almost 700,000 people would be covered by an expansion of Medicaid.
“This additional $3 billion would more than pay for the state’s share of additional expansion,” Cross-Call said.
But the money only lasts for two years, and after that the state would have to cover about 10% of the cos. This lingering issue has so far kept Florida from expanding eligibility.
The Orlando billboard is part of a broader state effort by Democrats to highlight the legislations signed by President Joe Biden with billboards and digital ads in South Florida.