In response to a recent Miami Herald article about the subsidized healthcare of Florida state legislators and other public employees, our very own Julieta Romero sent this letter to the editor:
Yesterday's Herald article on State legislators' defense of their taxpayer-funded health coverage was eye-opening. The irony is even greater given the preparations they are making to slash coverage for State workers and vulnerable Medicaid recipients next legislative session. Perhaps most telling was future Senate President Mike Haridopolos' unbelievable comparison: "It's not like we pay nothing...It's not like Medicaid.''
For starters, hundreds of thousands of Medicaid recipients do pay out-of-pocket just like Senator Haridopolos. It's not clear whether the Senator was unaware of that fact or whether he just wants to continue the practice of blaming the very poorest and sickest Floridians in lieu of fixing our broken tax structure.
The fact is, it only takes a couple of copayments to spend more than 1% of a typical Medicaid recipient's below-poverty income. By comparison, given Senator Haridopolos' publicly funded salary as a legislator and professor, he would need to pay at least $1,000 a year in co-pays to reach even a comparable burden.
The article shows that legislative leaders lack more than the revenue they need to meet Florida's basic needs. They lack a basic understanding of the lives of real Floridians.