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House Unveils Medicaid Expansion Alternative

Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford and Representative Richard Corcoran have crafted an alternative to the Federal Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

The plan is similar to one in the Senate by Aaron Bean that relies on state funding only to allow more people to purchase private health insurance plans.

The Florida Health Choices Plus plan, designed by Rep. Richard Corcoran (R-Land O Lakes) rejects $51 billion in federal Medicaid dollars the state would have otherwise gotten had it gone along with the Medicaid expansion under the federal health law. Under the expansion, roughly a million low-income Floridians would have gained access to Medicaid.

Corcoran's plan covers far fewer people and no single adults.

Under Florida Health Choices Plus, 115,000 people, mainly parents of families  and people with disabilities under 100 percent of the federal poverty level, would get $2,000 a year to help pay for private insurance. The recipients would also have to kick in $25 per month.

Recipients would be able to purchase private insurance coverage on the state-run Florida Health Choices, an online market place for small business which isn't operational yet.

In comparison, Senator Aaron Bean. whose Florida Healthy Choices proposal is the foundation of the House plan, would cover some 600,000 Floridians.

The favored plan in the Senate is one by Senator Joe Negron, which would expand the state's Healthy Kids program to people up to 130 percent of the federal poverty level, and allow them to purchase private health plans. That proposal could make the state eligible for the federal Medicaid money.

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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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