Florida Senate Committee Rejects Medicaid Expansion

The vote doesn't stop an expansion of coverage to the state's uninsured since the panel could make an alternative recommendation. But it indicates that Gov. Rick Scott faces considerable pushback from his own party regarding his support of this provision of the health law.

The New York Times: Medicaid Expansion Is Rejected In Florida
Rebuffing Gov. Rick Scott's support of Medicaid expansion, a Florida Senate committee on Monday rejected the idea, all but ending the possibility that the state would add more poor people to Medicaid rolls (Alvarez, 3/11).

The Wall Street Journal: Florida Lawmakers Balk At Health Shift
The vote doesn't halt the Medicaid expansion in its tracks, as the panel could still make an alternative recommendation about expanding Medicaid, and other lawmakers could also propose their own bills. But it is a sign that Mr. Scott will continue to face high obstacles from members of his own party. The governor, a leading critic of the 2010 health-care law, changed his opposition to taking federal dollars to expand the program after reaching an agreement with Washington officials to let the state contract with private insurance companies to manage the care of new Medicaid enrollees (Radnofsky and Campoy, 3/11).

Health News Florida: Senate Panel Says No To Medicaid Expansion, Wants 'Florida Plan'
The Senate's special committee on the Affordable Care Act voted along party lines Monday to reject Medicaid expansion, with members saying they want to develop a Florida-specific plan. The vote was 7 to 4…Negron offered an alternative -- which members of the committee dubbed the "Negron Plan" -- that would offer 1 million low-income uninsured in Florida a basic plan tied to a health-reimbursement account (Gentry, 3/12).

The Washington Post's WonkBlog: Florida Senate Panel Rejects Medicaid Expansion – But It's Not Dead Yet
It was a huge coup for the Obama administration when they won Florida Gov. Rick Scott's endorsement of the Medicaid expansion. In his state alone, the Obamacare program could cover 1.3 million people. But the governor wasn't the only endorsement they had to secure: The Republican-controlled Florida legislature would also need to sign off on the expansion. And as of Monday afternoon, they don't appear inclined to move forward: Committees in the Florida House and Senate have rejected the Medicaid expansion as proposed by Gov. Scott (Kliff, 3/11).

Meanwhile, debates over whether and how to expand Medicaid continue in other states -

The Wall Street Journal: Private Medicaid Plans Get Push
A pair of states are proposing to use new Medicaid funding to help the poor buy private health insurance, a new twist in how to implement the 2010 federal health-care law that is winning support from some Republicans (Campoy and Radnofsky, 3/11).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Discussions Continue Among Miss. Lawmakers
The Mississippi Hospital Association announced Monday that it's working with Gov. Phil Bryant’s office to address budget constraints resulting from the Affordable Care Act amid Bryant's ongoing opposition to the federal health care overhaul. Claude Harbarger, leader of the MHA Board of Governors, said he is grateful that Bryant is willing to work toward a solution. He said the state's hospitals are already losing millions of dollars as they begin to implement the Affordable Care Act (Tillman, 3/12).

Also in the news, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius pitches the Medicaid expansion to city leaders -

Modern Healthcare: Sebelius Urges Expansion Of Medicaid Programs
The Obama administration sought to recruit city leaders Monday in the ongoing battle to expand Medicaid nationwide. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urged attendees at the National League of Cities' annual legislative forum to join in the administration's ongoing push to convince Republican governors to expand their Medicaid programs, as called for by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. … Sebelius characterized governors who are refusing the expansion as “playing politics” because they were opposed to the underlying 2010 federal healthcare overhaul. That law envisioned using a national Medicaid expansion to provide coverage to about half of the 30 million people who were expected to gain insurance under its provisions (Daly, 3/11).

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