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Senate Approves Medicaid Expansion With Little Time Left To Reach Deal With House

The Florida Senate has officially narrowed the list of Medicaid alternative plans pending in the legislature from three, to two.

Lawmakers in the upper chamber okayed a proposal that would draw down some $51 billion  in federal money to allow an additional million low-income people to purchase plans. Bill sponsor, Republican Senator Joe Negron of Stewart, says his proposal is not an extension of the current Medicaid program.               

"When we say someone is ‘on Medicaid’. It almost implies a victim-status, or subservient. You’re on something. When we say someone ‘has health insurance’. That’s ownership. So that’s really the biggest difference. We’re giving people assistance to purchase health insurance.” 

The Senate’s vote comes a week after the Florida House approved a smaller bill that uses state money to give some 150,000 people a voucher to purchase private plans. Lawmakers have less than a week to reach a deal, but some say the issue could already be dead.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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