Florida House District 3 Representative Joel Rudman has been under fire from Panhandle Conservatives after wearing dark fingernail polish to an official House committee meeting. Submitted photo.
Around 20 people signed up to speak during Tuesday night’s Northwest Florida Legislative Delegation hearing, which was hosted by Florida Senator Doug Broxson and Florida Representatives Alex Andrade and Joel Rudman.
The hearing began with Broxson discussing four local bills. Local elected leaders from Santa Rosa County, the City of Milton and the City of Gulf Breeze then took turns thanking the trio of legislators for last year’s appropriations and briefly discussing upcoming requests.
Other speakers included Holley-Navarre Water System CEO Jeff Crigler and Jennifer Jones of the Florida Cultural Alliance.
But fireworks began when it was time for constituents to speak and Milton resident Michael J. Stevens lit into Rudman for his recent push to expand Medicaid in Florida.
“You’re pushing Obamacare. I’m very disappointed because when I voted for you as a Conservative, I was part of your base, and you’re stabbing your base right in the back. Because any time that you expand Obamacare or Medicaid the taxpayer’s have to pay for it, and we are in a dire situation with what’s going on in Washington, and how dare you side up with the Democrats and try to push this atrocity of Obamacare on us.”
Rudman with Democrat Robin Bartleman, who represents Florida House District 103
Rudman didn’t respond to Stevens. However, he did post the following via social media:
“I support discussing expansion as well as increasing reimbursement across the board for our Medicaid providers. I look forward to working with my like-minded colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this extremely important issue.”
Rudman claims Medicaid reform is “critical” for small, rural hospitals like Jay Hospital, noting in an October 1 social media post that he has hosted four bipartisan meetings across the state regarding Medicaid expansion and physician pay increases.
“Our hospitals are dying financially from the uncompensated care they provide. I support discussing expansion as well as increasing reimbursement across the board for our Medicaid providers. I look forward to working with my like-minded colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this extremely important issue. We must save our rural hospitals,” Rudman said.
But Santa Rosa County District 3 Commissioner James Calkins says Jay Hospital is safe. “I can assure you Jay Hospital is not going anywhere. I have talked to Baptist CEO Mark Faulkner, who assured me of that.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rudman has stated he was wearing nail polish during the House committee meeting because of event he was attending after the meeting.