Senate Health Plan DOA In The House

May 26, 2015

Chances the Legislature will break a stalemate over health care in next week’s special session appear remote. Senate President Andy Gardiner, an Orlando Republican, has a new proposal to provide insurance to 800,000 Floridians, but the governor and House speaker oppose it.

The House walked away from a legislative session earlier this month, refusing to accept $1 billion in federal health care dollars tied to Obamacare. Gardiner says the Senate’s latest proposal addresses some House concerns but is not a final offer.

“Every step of the way, we’ve said we’re open to dialogue and we’re open to suggestions. By no means are we saying we have the exact answer to the uninsured problem.”

The Senate takes up the plan Monday. Senate health care chairman Aaron Bean, a Jacksonville Republican, says the plan no longer requires participants to enroll temporarily in Medicaid and makes it harder for them to qualify.

“We’re writing it in a way that’s an extremely conservative fashion, including tightening up the work requirements that are involved.”

Complicating the issue is a pending U.S. Supreme Court decision that could end federally subsidized health exchanges in some states.

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Update 12:52 p.m.:   Senate President Andy Gardiner, and Orlando Republican, meets with reporters at the Capitol at 2:15 p.m. to announce his latest plan to break a stalemate with the House over providing health insurance to  800,000 Floridians.

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Credit Keta Browning / WFSU News

Update 12:17 p.m.: Senate health care chairman Aaron Bean, a Jacksonville Republican, says he hopes his compromise proposal to cover 800,000 Floridians will bring the House back to the table for next week’s special session.

BREAKING: Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner is announcing what he calls a compromise on how to expand healthcare coverage to more than 800,000 uninsured Floridians—an issue that became a sticking point between the two chambers during the legislature’s regular session.

Gardiner says the compromise will come through a bill filed by Sen. Aaron Bean (R-Jacksonville). A press release from the Senate President’s office says Bean’s bill will amend the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX program. The amendment aims to expand choices, and help people move into the FHIX Marketplace more quickly. The plan would also make it clearer that people must be working, seeking work or attending college or job training to be eligible for the coverage.  

Senate leaders say the measure strikes a compromise with demands from the Federal Government revolving around Medicaid expansion, while reaffirming the state’s sovereignty.

The press release from Gardiner’s office says the solution is the result of conversations with members of the Senate, House and other stake holders.

Sen. Bill Galvano (R-Bradenton) calls the plan a proposed compromise.