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This year, the Florida Legislature explored the option of expanding Medicaid coverage in our state. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires states to expand Medicaid coverage to everyone below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court issued the opinion that Medicaid expansion would not be mandatory, but rather, each state could decide whether it was in its best interest to expand. As incentive to expand fully, the Obama Administration and Congress promised full federal funding for three years.
The Florida House of Representatives created a Select Committee on PPACA that researched and reviewed whether or not full Medicaid expansion was the right choice for Florida. The committee concluded that expansion was not the correct answer for Florida and instead proposed a health coverage option that would expand health insurance options to two groups that currently may not be covered under Medicaid. The Florida Health Choices Plus Plan covered low-income parents and disabled adults with incomes under the poverty level, closing the coverage gaps for those two needy groups. Under PPACA, anyone who falls between 100 and 400 percent of the federal poverty level is eligible to enroll and receive health insurance coverage subsidized by the federal government in the federal insurance exchange, a marketplace for consumers and small businesses to shop for coverage. This marketplace allows for comparisons of available plan options based on price, quality, benefits and services.
This plan passed the Florida House, but was not taken up by the Florida Senate. Although the bill did not pass the Legislature this year, I look forward to continuing to work on a Medicaid alternative that is driven by the free market, funded sustainably, and provides the best possible health care to those truly in need.
Rep. Charlie Stone
Florida House District 22
District Office: 352-291-4436
3001 SW College Rd. Suite 104
Tallahassee Office: 850-717-5022
1003 The Capitol