Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange plan gets approval in Senate

House expected to vote on FHIX Friday


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida House and Senate hasn't seen eye to eye about health care expansion in the state the whole year, and the Senate keeps changing their plan to try to compromise with the House.

The Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange plan, or FHIX, passed the Senate with only three "no" votes. The full Florida House is expected to vote on it Friday.

The Florida Senate isn't backing down from pushing their health care expansion plan.

Senators continued to make the case for why Florida needs to accept federal money to help uninsured or underinsured Floridians.

"We can never lose sight of the people the Senate is trying to help," Sen. Rene Garcia said. "These are students who, by no fault of their own, have no access to insurance."

The FHIX plan, which supporters say can help hundreds of thousands of uninsured, got a full vote from senators Wednesday.

Lawmakers agreed to five more amendments to the plan to go along with more changes made on Tuesday.

One of the biggest changes made was allowing the state to end the program. If the federal government backs out of giving their portion of the money, then the state can make it go away.

Senators said the fixes for FHIX meet the concerns of the state's Agency For Healthcare Administration. Now, they'll have to convince members of the Florida House.

"We have a very tough sell," Sen. Aaron Bean said. "We're trying to shine it up for them and, hopefully, make it more attractive."

House members are far from on board.

"It's a house of cards. It's built on a false premise, and what we really need to do is move past the Senate's Medicaid expansion plan and focus on the rest of Florida's budget," Rep. Matt Gaetz said.

Opponents said they doubt that even if the proposal passed the legislature, the federal government would approve it.