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The Sunshine Economy

The Sunshine Economy: The Special Session

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The debate that's been raging in Florida for five years: to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act or not?

Florida lawmakers have consistently decided "no." As other states with stiff opposition to Medicaid expansion, like Iowa and Indiana, have forged modified expansion plans that have been approved by the federal government, Florida has steadfastly rejected any change. 

Lawmakers return to the capital for a 20-day special legislative session today. They have to pass a budget by July 1 or risk a state government slowdown or shutdown.

They don't have to tackle Medicaid expansion, but the issue pervades every budget decision lawmakers have to make before June 20. At a third of state spending, Medicaid is the largest slice of state spending. It's bigger than education and transportation combined.

Medicaid Expansion Debate in Four Sound Bytes

The special session will be dominated by health care as lawmakers look for a quick fix to ensure there is a budget beginning July 1 and state government stays open.

 

If legislators don’t come to an agreement on spending, the consequences would a state government slowdown or shutdown. Regardless if they do or don’t, Florida lawmakers already have agreed to be back at it earlier next year. Instead of starting in March, the 2016 legislative session will begin in January.

 

The special session is estimated to cost Florida taxpayers around $75,000 per day.

In a journalism career covering news from high global finance to neighborhood infrastructure, Tom Hudson is the Vice President of News and Special Correspondent for WLRN. He hosts and produces the Sunshine Economy and anchors the Florida Roundup in addition to leading the organization's news engagement strategy.