Response to Florida House Opposition on Health Care Expansion

On Friday the Florida House majority turned down the third attempt to compromise on Health Care Expansion with the bipartisan Florida Senate proposals. Letters to the editor are needed addressed to the legislators in yoour area who opposed helping the 800,000 expansion could help. Below is a statement we made to the press which you can draw from.

An Open Letter on the Rejection of Health Care Expansion by the Florida House of Representatives:

Health care, by whatever name, is a basic need for every person. The fact that nearly one out of six Floridians lack access to affordable, quality health care is burden on the conscience of every Floridian. That burden weighs especially heavy on those charged with providing for the well-being of the residents of the state.

There are no arguments to justify knowingly limiting health care so that the vulnerable die prematurely. “If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered” (Proverbs 21:13).

Over the past week an interfaith collaborative has succeeded in leading community actions on health care expansion in the districts of Rep. Chris Latvala of Clearwater, Rep. Ross Spano of Brandon, Rep. Bob Cortes of Orlando, Rep. Bill Hager of Boca Raton, andRep. Jose Oliva of Miami. These were among the 72 legislators who voted against the senate bipartisan compromise. To his credit, Rep. Shawn Harrison of Tampa, heard the cries of constituents in our actions and voted for expansion. This is why we are calling on local residents to write letters to the editor that alert local constituents of how their representative voted. We encourage people of faith and conscience to let others know how they feel.

Across Florida today, and the next day, and the day after that, some of our neighbors will suffer and die from disease at an early age needlessly because they lacked access to affordable, quality health care. We know that only delivering health care through the emergency room when a medical crisis forces itself is the most expensive, inefficient, and substandard form of care we make available.

Our conscience requires that we take whatever measures we can with the resources at hand to ease the suffering and dying of our neighbors. In the past week we have held prayer vigils and public events in six cities, generated 2400 Facebook hits, filled two buses of faith leaders to visit Tallahassee, generated numerous petitions and letters of conscience. People of faith and conscience will continue to gather, pray and press for affordable, quality health care. There are too many uninsured in our own communities whose health is at risk, and we must do right by them and the other uninsured in the state.

The large population of the uninsured represents a real thermometer for the economy of the state. Increasing the quality of jobs and seeing a living wage as the normative entry level wage is the preferred means for reducing Medicaid rolls and the numbers of the uninsured. Until then, expanding Medicaid coverage under the generous terms of the Affordable Care Act is the only working substitute available.

Across Florida, faith leaders from many traditions and religions are holding state leaders in prayer. The House vote against expansion has increased the burden of all of our consciences. We hold each representative in prayer by name for conscience sake and for the sake of our neighbors in need.

Jesus said, “I was sick and you took care of me … just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Whether or not one is Christian, this principle is found in all religions: the way we treat our fellow human beings reflects the way we honor God. Words are not enough; deeds matter.

The Rev. Dr. Russell L. Meyer
Interfaith Florida

Instructions: the legislators on the right voted against compromise. Pick a media outlet and submit a 250 word letter making sure to share which legislator you are directing you comment to and what you think about their action. Feel free to use the language in the statement above.

Media Market

West Florida Media

Central Florida Media

Palm Beach Media

Miami Media

Florida House

West Florida Opposition

  • Rep. Chris Latvala, Clearwater
  • Rep. Ross Spano, Brandon

Central Florida Opposition

  • Rep. Bob Cortes, Orlando

Palm Beach Opposition

  • Rep. Bill Hager, Boca Raton

Miami Opposition

  • Rep. Jose Oliva, Miami

We'd like to publish your letters with the name of Legislators you are directing your comments to. Please fill out this form to share your letter and receive updates on our health care expansion campaign. We'll keep you up to date on this campaign.