09/11/2013 11:46 am ET Updated Sep 11, 2013

Will Weatherford, Florida House Speaker, Calls Medicaid The 'Worst Insurance'


Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford (R-Wesley Chapel) continues to slam Medicaid even though it reportedly paid a "mountain" of his own family's medical bills.

Wednesday, at an event at Suncoast Tiger Bay, a non-partisan political club, Weatherford said "Medicaid has been proven to be one of the worst forms of insurance you can get in America,"according to the Tampa Bay Times. "Nobody in here wants to be on Medicaid."

Yet back in March, Weatherford was forced to admit that it was a Medicaid-backed program he had praised for paying $100,000 of his own family's medical bills when his brother passed away from cancer. His staff originally claimed a hospital charity had helped the Weatherfords with their hospital bills.

"Peter lost his battle with cancer, and my father found himself with a mountain of medical bills that he could never afford to pay," Weatherford said in his opening day speech for the 2013 legislative session, inadvertently praising Medicaid. "It was the safety net that picked my father up. It was the safety net that picked my family up."

His father later confirmed it was Medicaid's Medically Needy program.

Yet Weatherford was key is preventing over a million Floridians from having the same "safety net" when the House blocked a bipartisan proposal to accept an estimated $50 billion in federal dollars that would have expanded Medicaid coverage as well as other programs.

Instead Florida lawmakers chose to use $300 million in state funds to purchase coverage for a mere 130,000 Floridians.

Medicaid expansion is a contentious issue in Florida, where just under 25 percent of the population is uninsured, making it the state with the second highest number of people without health insurance.

Meanwhile Weatherford and other Florida House members pay only $8.43 a month for individual health care plans, five times less than premiums offered to other state workers.



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