Rep. Steube criticizes Medicaid expansion before Manatee Republicans

Rep. Greg Steube speaks to the Manatee County Republican Party about Medicaid expansion Monday evening at a meeting in the Bradenton Woman's Club. AMARIS CASTILLO/Bradenton Herald

Rep. Greg Steube speaks to the Manatee County Republican Party about Medicaid expansion Monday evening at a meeting in the Bradenton Woman’s Club.
AMARIS CASTILLO/Bradenton Herald

(This story originally appeared in the Bradenton Herald)

BRADENTON — Rep. Greg Steube came to talk to the Manatee County Republican Party Monday evening about his opposition to Medicaid expansion.

Backed by blown-up posters from a slide presentation, during a Manatee Republican Executive Committee meeting, Steube detailed the costs associated with the federal/state program that pays for medical assistance for individuals and families with low incomes and resources.

One of the posters titled “Obamacare Medicaid Expansion” claimed 257,000 Floridians would lose their private insurance subsidy and be forced into Medicaid under the Obama expansion. The hashtag #MedicaidDoesNotWork appeared on the bottom right corner of the poster.

“Right now we have about a $78 billion budget. Forty billion dollars of the $78 billion is just Medicaid that we have to pay,” he said. “We have no decision as to whether we pay it or not. If you qualify for Medicaid, we have to pay it pursuant to the Medicaid in the federal law.”

From 1999 to fiscal year 2014-2015, Steube said Medicaid grew 245 percent in the state budget.

“Everything else, transportation … ag and natural resources, spring cleanup, water cleanup, environment, education — everything else only went up 67 percent in the same time frame,” he said.

The Bradenton Republican said politicians would be expanding Medicaid for able-bodied adults.

“We’re not talking about anyone under the age of 18 or over the age of 65. Medicaid expansion is only for people over the age of 18, under the age of 65 — so working age adults,” he said. “No one with a disability… and they’re single adults. So the population that we’re talking about, and it’s about 800,000 Floridians, are over the age of 18, under the age of 65, able-bodied working adults without a disability with no children.”

Shirley Carnes, 72, said she felt Steube’s presentation was well informed and that his views were “right on.”

“It was very informative,” she said, “and a little surprising how much is spent in our budget.”

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