House panel OKs Medicaid expansion alternative

Published: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 19, 2013 at 2:05 p.m.

TALLAHASSEE — The Florida House's budget panel has advanced a smaller state-funded health insurance plan for Florida's needy rather than a federally-funded Medicaid expansion.

The House Appropriations committee on Friday cleared the Florida Health Choices Plus bill (HB 7169) on a party line 16-8 vote.

The state-funded plan would cover 115,000 residents and cost about $237 million. A Medicaid expansion would be paid wholly by the federal government and cover up to 1.1 million residents.

Democrats lost a bid to amend the bill. It would have taken federal money to extend those covered up to 133 percent of the poverty level.

But Republicans oppose taking federal money. They say there's no guarantee the feds will keep paying. And they say it's borrowed money that adds to the federal deficit.

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