Florida continues to be a hotbed of activity when it comes to Medicaid expansion. After Gov. Rick Scott did an about-face to support the reform law's Medicaid expansion a few weeks ago, a Florida Senate committee has now rejected the plan.
Coming on the heels of a Florida House committee that rebuffed Medicaid expansion altogether, the Senate Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act voted Monday along party lines to ignore Gov. Scott's recommendation. Instead, the lawmakers offered an alternative solution--using federal funds allowed under the reform law to expand the public-private Florida Healthy Kids program for adults who qualify for Medicaid, reported The New York Times.
"I think it's important for us to say no to having Washington tell us to expand our Medicaid program," said Sen. Joe Negron, who is Republican chairman of the committee and proposed the substitute plan. "We want to try to find a creative way to help people, empower people to have their own private health insurance but not put them into the Medicaid program."
Negron estimated that the state would save $127 million annually under his plan as opposed to expanding Medicaid while still covering almost one million uninsured Florida residents, the Florida Times-Union reported.
Under his proposal, the state would create health reimbursement accounts that reward members for healthy behaviors, allow members to buy private health insurance and use state and federal funds to subsidize insurers' premium costs, according to a Miami Herald article.
"We will insure more Floridians, but make sure Washington doesn't dominate the health care policy of Florida," Negron said. "Why would we use the current Medicaid vehicle for a different idea?"