Lawmakers, advocates lobby for Medicaid expansion

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MIAMI - Health advocates and Democrats are rallying the Legislature to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million.

House and Senate committees have voted against a straight Medicaid expansion. Sen. Joe Negron suggested a voucher system modeled after the Florida Healthy Kids Corporation. Parents pay premiums and co-pays based on their income. The state may help subsidize those fees.

On Friday, Rep. Perry Thurston and Rep. Mia Jones urged lawmakers to extend coverage to those making up to 138 percent of the poverty line at a news conference in Tallahassee.

Florida CHAIN and Health Care for Florida Now delivered 15,000 petitions Thursday supporting Medicaid expansion. Hospital executives held a rally Tuesday.

Republican Rep. Mike Fasano criticized fellow Republicans at several rallies for being afraid of far right-wing constituents to make a sensible decision.

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