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Health News Florida
Healthy State tells the stories you need to know to stay well, with a special focus on Florida.We'll bring you the latest fitness trends, new research on preventing and treating disease, and information about how health policy impacts your pocketbook.We report on health using all the tools at our disposal -- video, audio, photos and text -- to bring these stories to life.Healthy State is a project of WUSF Public Media in Tampa and is heard on public radio stations throughout Florida. It also is available online at wusfnews.org.

Senate Kills Bare-Bones Alternative to Medicaid Expansion

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State Sen. Aaron Bean's bare-bones Florida Health Choices Plus plan is no longer an alternative to Medicaid expansion in Florida.

An amendment presented by state Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, was approved by a vote of 36-0 and removed the language from the bill to create that plan.  The Florida Health Choices Plus plan was presented by Sen. Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, as a way to cover some of the state's uninsured instead of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

Now the Senate is left with one alternative plan: Healthy Florida, the plan sponsored by Sen. Negron that would cover about 1.1 million uninsured Floridians using federal money. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill last week, and it's now ready for a floor vote. 

The plan provides premium assistance for people to buy health insurance.

"They still have to pay some, they still have to pay co-pays and deductibles," Negron said. "They still have their patient responsibilities, but we're not putting them into a program that in many ways, even though we've done our best to reform it, still does not give people the control they have in having their own insurance card."

Republicans in the House say they're concerned the federal government won't keep its promise of funding, and they've been unwilling to move forward with a similar bill. The House has approved a very different plan, one that rejects federal funds and only covers about 115,000.

There are no signs of a compromise. The session ends Friday.