GOP lawmaker voted to block 60,000 in Florida from getting health care


Florida lawmaker Manny Diaz Jr. voted to stop vulnerable people in his own district get access to affordable health care.  

Florida state Rep. Manny Diaz Jr. has been a foot soldier in the Republican movement to prevent vulnerable Americans from getting health insurance. And now he's running to take his anti-health care crusade to the state Senate.

After Obamacare became law, Diaz was part of the wave of local Republican officials who opposed the provisions of the legislation that allowed states to expand the Medicaid program to millions of Americans who could not otherwise afford access to health care.

But instead of helping the people he was supposed to represent, Diaz, who sat on the Health Quality Subcommittee, voted to block Medicaid expansion in his state.

"I don't feel that the states should get involved with running health care exchanges: this is a big federal program, and the responsibility should fall on the federal government," Diaz told Sunshine State News at the time.

The Miami Herald reported that the bill would have augmented health insurance for as many as 60,000 low-income working Floridians.

Diaz's vote had him siding with other Republicans like state Rep. Jason Brodeur, who said, "Medicaid is socialized health care insurance." Diaz recently called ethics legislation a path to "full socialism."

Not only did his vote hurt thousands of Floridians, but as many as 11,000 people in his own district missed out on expanded health insurance coverage thanks to his vote with extremists.

Diaz is now backing Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee for governor in Florida. Like Diaz, DeSantis made a name for himself in opposing health care reform when he served in Congress. DeSantis was part of the right-wing "tea party" movement.

DeSantis and Diaz recently appeared together at a campaign event where Diaz described DeSantis as the "clear choice" in his election.

Despite polls showing health care is the top issue according to Florida voters, DeSantis has not produced a health care plan and has been slammed for it by his Democratic rival, Andrew Gillum.

Diaz's opponent in the state Senate race, David Perez, has echoed other Florida Democrats and cites health care as a priority. On his website, Perez says if elected he "will fight to bring the cost of health insurance under control and to expand Medicaid to ensure better care for everyone in our community."

From his gubernatorial endorsement and his own track record in the legislature, Diaz not only seems to be unconcerned about those without affordable access to health care, but along with DeSantis seems determined to continue fighting against those who need it the most.