I’m a Republican who is voting for Haagenson


Treasure Coast Newspapers  Published 4:00 a.m. ET Oct. 21, 2018

Many uninsured people hesitate to seek medical care when illness strikes, worried about the cost. The emergency room is the most expensive, inefficient place to get primary health care. Yet, too often, it’s the only place an uninsured person can turn.

One in five Floridians is uninsured, the third highest rate in the country. As a gastroenterologist serving our community for 26 years, I have seen our often crowded emergency room strain to help patients who just needed a timely visit to a primary care physician.

Our state’s uninsurance crisis hurts both our uninsured community members and our health care infrastructure.

Medicaid expansion helps small businesses. As a former small business owner, I know how much it costs to provide health insurance.

Tying people to large employers due to limited health care options is constraining our economy. Maybe that’s why a recent poll by Saint Leo University found that 68 percent of Floridians support Medicaid expansion.

Florida is one of just 18 states that hasn’t expanded Medicaid.

We are already paying our share of the bill in our federal taxes. Expanding Medicaid would bring our $5 billion back to Florida each year.

In 2015, our state Senate passed Medicaid expansion, voting 33-3. The majority of “yes” votes came from Republicans, including all then-serving Treasure Coast state senators. Despite this overwhelming bipartisan consensus, the statehouse shot it down.

Medicaid expansion has helped liberal states, swing states, and conservative states.

In 2016, I ran for the Republican nomination to the statehouse, in large part because I was frustrated by Tallahassee gridlock on Medicaid expansion.

I’m a lifelong Republican, and I’m voting for candidates who will expand Medicaid. That means, this time, I’m voting for Democrat Nicole Haagenson for Florida House District 54 (http://nicolehaagenson.com/). I urge my neighbors to do the same.

Gregory MacKay, Vero Beach