On Thursday, SEIU, Organize Now, Florida CHAIN, FOCUS Orlando and community and faith leaders held a press conference outside of Rep. Mike La Rosa’s district office in response to his continued opposition to expanding healthcare access to 1.2 million uninsured Floridians. With little more than 100 days left to accept the $1 billion in federal funding allotted to Medicaid expansion in Florida for 2014, the diverse group of healthcare advocates delivered a message to La Rosa of “it’s not too late.”
The coalition launched a new community outreach initiative in La Rosa’s district by canvassing local businesses to spotlight La Rosa’s opposition to affordable healthcare. The effort is part of a broader outreach plan to constituents and the business community to emphasize the economic boost and job creation that the federal money would bring to the area.
“When people are healthy and when they have jobs, they are able to spend money in the local economy,” said Timothy Murray of Organize Now.
Healthcare expansion is expected to create an estimated 122,000 permanent jobs in Florida.
La Rosa and Florida House Republican leadership refused to expand healthcare to the uninsured during the last legislative session and now risk giving away at least $1 billion to another state if they refuse to accept federal funds by Jan. 1, 2014 forcing more than one million Floridians to go without healthcare coverage.
“It’s not too late for La Rosa and the legislature to do the right thing,” said Certified Nursing Assistant Rochelle Brown. “Expanding healthcare will help us serve our residents better and be more productive when we come into work everyday.”
La Rosa and the rest of the legislature return to Tallahassee next week for the first round of committee meetings before the Jan. 1 deadline.
“Expanding healthcare is the right thing to do morally; it’s the right thing to do economically, and we hope that La Rosa will take that message to Tallahassee,” said Glenn Rehn of SEIU.