Fla. House moves alternative health care plan forward

113K low-income Floridians would pay $25 monthly for private insurance

Published On: Apr 19 2013 04:09:27 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 19 2013 09:48:11 PM EDT
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -

Increased health care for up to a million Floridians remains up in the air as legislators in Tallahassee push drastically different plans. The end result could be no additional coverage for anyone.

Under a plan being pushed by the state House, 113,000 low income Floridians would pay a $25 monthly co-pay for private insurance.

A plan favored by the governor and state Senate, would cover 10 times more people. It's funded completely by the federal government for the first three years.

But it is that federal funding where House Republicans are drawing the line.

"What the government giveth, the government taketh away," said Rep. Charles McBurney.

"Furthermore, the federal government does have a demonstrated check record of being an unreliable funding partner," said Rep. Steve Precourt.

In pushing for the larger coverage, Democrats made a reference to Boston, where first responders rushed to a crisis. They say Florida should be rushing to solve a health care crisis.

"We lend a helping hand. That's what America is all about," said Rep. Daryl Rouson.

Despite the plea, the committee shut down the federal money plan on a party line vote.

"It's really not about providing coverage under those plans, it's simply about saying no to the Affordable Care Act," said Rep. Mia Jones.

The decision not to take federal money sets up a very real possibility the lawmakers could leave here in two weeks and do absolutely nothing to expand health care.

Doing nothing says House Speaker Will Weatherford, would be profitable to taking federal money.

"If it's taking federal money that we can't count on going home, I think we would prefer to go home," said Rep. Will Weatherford.

The plan being pushed by the House Speaker, gives eligible enrollees $2,000 to buy coverage of their choice.

The House plan does not cover single, childless adults, which is one of the major differences from the Medicaid expansion favored by the Governor. His plan also saves the state an estimated $430 million on money it now spends on the medically needy program.