Florida is one of a growing number of states where time is running out for lawmakers to make a deal on expanding Medicaid.
The Florida Legislature has worked furiously on legislation to raise Medicaid eligibility. But the Senate's passage of a bill Tuesday belied concerns that approval by the overall Legislature appears out of reach.
“It's very uncertain whether anything is going to happen this year,” said Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association.
The Senate's approval of a plan came just four days after the state House passed a very different alternative, which would extend coverage to a more limited population than envisioned in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and would forgo additional federal funding.
The Senate version—backed by Republicans and Democrats, as well as Republican Gov. Rick Scott—would use more than $50 billion in federal funding over 10 years to buy private insurance coverage for about 1.1 million state residents.
But House Republicans rejected that approach over fears that the federal government would renege on its promises to cover much of the cost—leaving the state to cover the difference. Instead, they passed a plan to use state funding to provide health coverage for about 115,000 residents.