Written by Anne Swerlick and published by the Florida Policy Institute. Re-published here with their permission.
Access to affordable and timely health care can prevent disease, lead to healthier children and families and lower expenses in emergency care and chronic disease treatment. In a state like Florida, which has a growing population of both young and old residents, health care is one of those backbones of the state's economy. A healthy workforce is key to attracting investors and ensuring sustainable development in the state. Florida's current health system is not sufficient to keep residents healthy and able to work and it will not support Florida's aging population.
On November 6, Florida voters will decide on Amendment 5, which would - at best - lock the state into its already inequitable health care system that keeps thousands from accessing needed care. At worst, it could increase disparities, shutting out access for thousands more. The measure would require a two-thirds (supermajority) vote of the state Legislature to approve any new state revenue, taxes and fees, or to eliminate tax incentives, loopholes and other such expenditures.
Florida currently has the wrong priorities, giving special tax breaks to big corporations while putting up barriers to accessing health care services. Amendment 5 locks in these failed priorities before the state has a change to recover from deep cuts following the Great recession and supermajority requirement would likely require huge finding cuts in the wake of another fiscal crisis. Amendment 5 would unnecessarily restrict investments in Florida's future.
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The Florida Health Justice Project, a new nonprofit advocacy organization, seeks to improve access to affordable healthcare for Floridians, with a focus on vulnerable low-income populations.
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