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Health Plan for Poor Reconsidered

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A year ago, Manatee County voters nixed a half-cent sales tax to provide health care for poor residents. Now, county commissioners are thinking about starting over again.

On Tuesday, the commission will vote on a  $196,000 plan to analyze the most effective way to provide health care for indigents and other residents, the Bradenton Herald reports. The University of South Florida College of Public Health and Manatee Chamber Foundation would lead the study, the Heraldreports.

County administrators say last year's referendum failed in part because the county didn’t provide specifics on how the estimated $23 million a year would be used, the Heraldreports.

This sales-tax-for-health-care idea is used in other Florida counties, including Hillsborough and Broward, and is seen as a sort of Medicaid expansion. It helps provide health services to uninsured adults, and helps compensate hospitals for treating the poor.

This revenue recently has come under scrutiny, as state leaders have proposed sharing federal funds tied to the local taxes for statewide purposes.

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