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Health News Florida

Florida House Says No to Federal Funds for Health Care

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Lawmakers in the Florida House have rejected an amendment that would have used federal funds to provide health insurance coverage to 1.1 million uninsured Floridians. 

The amendment, sponsored by state Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, was the plan sponsored by state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart. His plan, called Healthy Florida, has the support of Senate Republicans, Democrats in both chambers, Gov. Rick Scott, big business and most of all the hospitals.

During Thursday's debate in the House, Fasano and Democrats called it the "bipartisan plan." Following close to five hours of debate, the amendment failed 45 to 74.The vote on the House Plan is scheduled for tomorrow.

House Republicans  argued that Medicaid is a broken system and that the federal government might not keep its promise on funding. Fasano said his amendment provided for an end to the funding if the money didn't come through and said it would use private companies, not traditional Medicaid.

The House plan, called Florida Health Choices Plus,  would reject federal funds and instead use state money to provide a $2,000-a-year subsidy for health coverage to about 115,000 uninsured Floridians with incomes up to 100% of the poverty level. Only disabled adults and parents of children 18 and younger would qualify.

One of Fasano's main arguments against the House plan was that the subsidy would not be enough to provide full insurance coverage. He also said anyone with an income low enough to qualify would be unable to pay the deductible.

--Health News Florida is a service of WUSF Public Media. Contact Lottie Watts at 813-974-8705 (desk) or e-mail at lottiewatts@wusf.orgFor more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.

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