Florida: Medicaid Expansion Would Cover 1.4 Million Uninsured

"Florida officials have calculated that the health care proposals being debated in Congress could extend Medicaid coverage to 1.4 million uninsured residents -- and cost state taxpayers $1.6 billion a year," The Sun Sentinel reports. "The analysis, done by the state Agency for Health Care Administration, found Florida's already mushrooming Medicaid rolls would grow from 2.6 million people to around 4 million under federal plans to overhaul the health care system." If the federal government pays for two-thirds of Medicaid costs, Florida would pay $1.6 billion in addition to the $5 billion a year the state says it is already paying for Medicaid.

"Florida leaders say the extra cost would be crushing, especially with the state facing a major financial jolt in 2011 when federal stimulus money runs out. Though Gov. Charlie Crist has not taken a position on Medicaid expansion, Republican legislators are worried… Florida's Medicaid program has grown rapidly in recent years, going from 2.1 million enrollees in 2007 to 2.6 million today. Even without a federal health care overhaul, state economists predict the program will swell to almost 2.9 million recipients in 2011, then level off and even shrink slightly as the economy rebounds. For every four dollars the state spends, one goes to Medicaid" (Hafenbrack, 9/13).

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