Florida: Confusion Surrounds Cost Of Medicaid Expansions Included In Reform Proposals

Health News Florida reports on a flap over how much the proposed expansion of Medicaid included in some health reform proposals would cost the state of Florida. The news service examined a story published in the Orlando Sentinel and the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The Sun-Sentinel reporter "wrote that if federal health reform expanded the number of Floridians covered under Medicaid from 2.6 million to 4 million, it would cost the state Medicaid budget an extra $1.6 billion." The source of the article's data was a chart from the state's Agency for Health Care Administration that based its calculation on what is paid now -- about one-third -- with the federal government picking up two-thirds. The Sentinel/Sun-Sentinel article quoted Florida lawmakers who were very concerned about these numbers. "House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, R-Boca Raton, was quoted as saying: 'Our Medicaid program is bordering on unsustainable as it is. If you add this component, you are going to break the back of Florida and every other state.'

However, Health News Florida reports that "the federal government would pay 100 percent of the cost of expanding Medicaid coverage under all health-reform bills now pending in Congress. States wouldn't have to pay anything until at least 2014 under any version in the House or Senate." One state senator told Health News Florida today that "it was 'very foolish' of AHCA to come out with a predicted impact on Medicaid without waiting to see what the legislation actually says. 'It just scares people,'" the lawmaker said (Gentry, 8/17).

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