Democratic candidates push for expanded health care coverage
Reflecting the same fault lines that have emerged nationally, Florida’s Democratic and Republican candidates for governor are deeply split over whether the state should take a more direct role in providing health care.
And that split is resonating in a campaign where health care has become one of the touchstone issues for the five Democrats running in the Aug. 28 primary.
Democrats Andrew Gillum, Gwen Graham, Jeff Greene, Chris King and Philip Levine are united in their support for expanding Medicaid to the 700,000 Floridians who would qualify for the program if Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-dominated Legislature had agreed to expand coverage to uninsured working adults.
But the five Democrats have not taken identical stances on health-care issues, including whether the state should allow the recreational use of marijuana instead of just limiting it to patients with chronic medical conditions.
And none of the Democratic candidates appears to have cornered support from Florida’s vast health-care industry. An analysis of contribution data to campaigns and political committees shows Levine, a former Miami Beach mayor, has collected more than $210,444 from the industry, while King, a Winter Park businessman, has gotten nearly $181,000. Graham a former