Jacksonville, FL - Florida Senators have given the all-but-final no to expanding Medicaid in a traditional sense, but your lawmakers are already looking at the other options on the table.
“What can we do to stay away from traditional Medicaid and create a new access to private health insurance,” says Republican State Senator Aaron Bean.
Bean, who voted against the expansion, is working on a plan that will be coming out in the next few weeks. He says Medicaid is the wrong option for Floridians.
“That’s all we’ve had and that’s all that we’ve relied on- but that’s extremely expensive and extremely unreliable,” he says.
The Senate Select Committee on the healthcare law voted Monday against expanding Medicaid. The Florida House took a similar position last week, both contrary to Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, who supported the expansion.
So while attention turns to other offers, Democratic State Senator Audrey Gibson wants to make sure Florida gets all of the federal dollars it’s entitled to. The federal government would have footed the full bill for the first three years of Medicaid expansion and 90% for years after that. She thinks some of the plans lawmakers may now be brewing in order to still capture that money, will come remarkably close to what was voted down.
“They [Republicans] want to make sure that don’t use the “M word” and look as if they are coalescing to what is the right thing to do anyway,” Gibson says.
She favored the expansion, and now wants more details on these other plans brewing, including one from Senator Joe Negron as well who would swap to a voucher program and one from Bean which looks like it will focus on subsidies for private health insurance.
“They want the money- which was stated more than once- but they don’t want to use a different type of federal program,” she says.
It’s unclear whether the state can recapture any federal money if it is not actually expanding Medicaid but rolling out a similar idea instead. Bean is not in favor of any funding like the Medicaid funding, which he says would have had strings attached.