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Health News Florida

New Report Slashes Cost Estimate on Medicaid Expansion

Liz_Dudek.jpg
Agency for Health Care Administration

After two days of heavy criticism, Gov. Rick Scott’s administration released  a new, much smaller estimate of the cost of expanding Florida Medicaid late Wednesday night. The new report pegs the price tag at about $3 billion.

At the most, if all those eligible signed up, it would cost the state $5 billion over a decade, the new report says. That is less than one-fifth the cost that Scott has been citing.

Over the same time span, the expansion would bring in about $30 billion in federal funds, the new analysis says, enough to cover 910,000 uninsured low-income Florida adults. In other words, Florida would get about $10 in federal funds for every $1 it put into the expansion, the new estimate says.

It was released by the Agency for Health Care Administration, which governs the state Medicaid program and comes under the governor’s office. The release from AHCA Secretary Liz Dudek said only that the new numbers had been provided to the Florida House of Representatives. A budget analyst there, Eric Pridgeon, told AHCA in December that the first estimates were unacceptable, and state chief economist Amy Baker agreed.

The Florida Legislature and Scott will decide this spring whether Florida will accept extra federal funds to cover more of the uninsured under Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

A more detailed version of this story is at www.HealthNewsFlorida.org.

Health News Florida, journalism for a healthy state, is a service of WUSF Public Media. Contact Carol Gentry at 813-974-8629 or 727-410-3266 or cgentry@wusf.org.