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Senate makes changes to health expansion plan

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Describing it as a "compromise solution," Senate leaders Tuesday released a proposal that would revise their plan for extending health-care coverage to about 800,000 uninsured Floridians.

President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, sent a memo to senators about the changes in the Senate's "Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange" plan.

The move came six days before the start of a special legislative session to negotiate a budget.

The House and Gov. Rick Scott have opposed the Senate's health-coverage plan, and the issue will play a major role in the special session.

The changes released Tuesday include dropping a proposal that would have enrolled people in Medicaid managed-care plans starting July 1. Originally, that was part of a phased approach to the Senate program.

Under the new proposal, the coverage expansion would take effect Jan. 1 through an online insurance marketplace known as Florida Health Choices.

Also, the proposal would allow people to choose from plans on the federal health-insurance exchange.