Florida CHAIN, a statewide health advocacy organization, said Monday that it has lost a major grant tied to Medicaid expansion and is laying-off its five staff members, including former House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach.
Pafford last year took the $85,000-a-year post as CEO of Florida CHAIN. Term-limited this fall, Pafford turned over leadership of House Democrats on Monday to Rep. Janet Cruz of Tampa. Jody Young, a spokesman for Florida CHAIN, said the17-year-old organization plans to continue its work, using volunteer staff.
CHAIN is active in advocating for children’s health, Medicare and Medicaid coverage and health care for immigrants.
Young said a $375,000 grant from Community Catalyst, a Boston-based non-profit, has been rescinded and will likely be steered to health initiatives in other states, or to states more inclined than Florida to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income residents.
Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican-led Legislature have opposed Medicaid expansion, which a majority of states have done under the Affordable Care Act. But with President-elect Donald Trump calling for repeal of the ACA, an approach Scott also has endorsed, the future of such initiatives are clouded.
“That’s been our mission, to try to get the state to expand,” Young said. “But I’m sure there are other states where this might look more possible than Florida.”