Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum shot onto the national stage when he achieved an upset victory in the Democratic primary last Tuesday. On CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, he talked policy with guest host Dana Bash — and appeared to have a difficult time admitting that his healthcare plan would involve a tax hike for at least some Florida residents.
Bash had to make several attempts to get Gillum to finally come around and admit that he had run on a platform of increased taxes for corporations in Florida.
Bash: Are you ready to tell the people of Florida they need to pay a lot more in taxes to fund your healthcare plan?
Gillum: Let me say first there was a report that showed that should we move to cover more people through a Medicare for all system we could save the system trillions over a period of time.
Bash: You could, but in the short term you need to raise taxes. Fair?
Gillum: So what I would say is, first of all — and I want to be clear — the state of Florida could not take this road by itself. We would need to do it as part of a federation of other states coming together. Think of Florida, New York, California —
Bash: Sir, in order to do that taxes would have to be raised. Is that fair? Do you agree with that?
Gillum: I don’t buy that.
Bash: How do you find that kind of money for the government without raising taxes?
Gillum: First I’d say, one, Florida could not do it by itself. Secondly, we have the opportunity to expand Medicaid for over 700,000 of the most medically needy people here in the state of Florida. My governor in the legislature refused to do it. It costs us about $6 billion in money that should have come from the federal government to the state of Florida that we never received. I’m simply saying — and I want to be clear, Dana, this is personal to me. I remember growing up as a kid having to wait for the mobile dental clinic to come through the neighborhood in order to have my teeth cleaned.
Bash: I know you have experiences and you’re coming from a real place, a personal place in supporting this, but as a government official you have to make it work. You have to make the numbers work. I still don’t understand how you would do it without raising taxes.
Gillum: So the first step we would take is expand Medicaid and pull down about $6 billion a year from the federal government. That’s important. Secondly, as governor of the state of Florida, I would work to bring a number of the larger states into a conversation around how it is together we might be able to negotiate prices and access healthcare to cover more people. And ensure those of us who are insured, who are right now paying premium increases year over year over year all because Ron DeSantis and Donald Trump —
Bash: Let me get it this way. Will you say you will not support raising taxes to make your healthcare plan work?
Gillum: I will absolutely not raise taxes on everyday working Floridians to give access —
And Finally …
Bash: What about wealthier people?
Gillum: I ran on this, by the way. We will increase taxes for corporations in our state who right now, just so you are aware, only 3 percent of people in Florida pay the corporate tax rate.
Gillum, who is backed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, will face off with Republican nominee Ron DeSantis, who has the support of President Donald Trump.
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