Statement by Sal Nuzzo, Vice President of Policy, The James Madison Institute Regarding the March 4, 2015 Senate Health Policy Committee Health Care Workshop:“We stand firm on our warning that expanding an inefficient Medicaid program is bad policy. It became clearer that this is the prudent path now that we know the federal government has pulled funding for the “Low Income Pool” program. We relied on that funding as we would rely on the promises made under a Medicaid expansion. This should be a lesson in unreliability. It’s a dangerous game and one with high stakes. Knowing this, it is even more important that policymakers explore other options for widening access to quality health care. Telemedicine, expansion of scope of practice, improvements in medical education programs to stem the doctor shortage, tort reform, all of which need to be dealt with, regardless of the debate on Medicaid expansion. It’s imperative Florida continue to hold the line on expanding Medicaid and search for more effective solutions to serve those in need.”# # #Trusted Solutions for a Better Florida: Founded in 1987, The James Madison Institute (JMI) is Florida’s oldest and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit research and educational organization. JMI is dedicated to advancing such ideals as economic freedom, limited government, federalism, traditional values, the rule of law, and individual liberty coupled with individual responsibility. All JMI publications are available online at www.jamesmadison.org. Twitter: @JmsMadisonInst – Facebook: facebook.com/JamesMadisonInstitute—
Full remarks given on March 4, 2015:Mr. Chairman, Senators and members of the committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.  My name is Sal Nuzzo and I represent The James Madison Institute, Florida’s oldest and largest policy think tank.I’ve often heard the saying that “those who refuse to study history are destined to repeat it.” Well, what about those who refuse to examine the present?Recently, the Federal Government’s Director of the Children and Adults Health Programs revealed something many of us already know – that the federal government can’t be trusted.  Funding for Florida’s “Low Income Pool” program – $1.3 billion – will not be extended.If the federal government can’t be trusted to extend a program that assists poor and uninsured Floridians for $1.3 billion, how then can anyone conclude that we should trust that the federal government will “cover” the costs of Medicaid expansion? Medicaid, a program that will eventually consume enough of Florida’s budget to cripple all other priorities.To those in decision making capacities in Tallahassee – I would implore you to think about what the future will hold when it is no longer $1.3 billion in “federal” money being withheld, but $10 billion, or $50 billion, or more.There are indeed positive policy ideas being brought forward that should be discussed, deliberated, and implemented. Thinks like expanding telemedicine, increasing scope of practice, improvements in medical education programs to stem the doc shortage, and tort reform, all of which need to be dealt with, regardless of the debate on Medicaid expansion.You have been elected by the voters of Florida because of the decisions you have made and the hopes that Florida can continue to serve as the beacon for other states to look toward. Those of us who believe in free market solutions consistently point out that care in socialized medicine (the very definition of Medicaid) is routinely substandard. Let’s examine why that is and work together to implement sound free market reforms to improve access to care for our less fortunate, as opposed to jamming them into a socialized program that results in far inferior care and worse health outcomes.In one of my all-time favorite movies, “Gladiator,” Russell Crowe’s lead character implores the soldiers in his charge “Stay with me, hold the line” and we would give you the same directive.Hold the Line…