Florida continues to wrangle with health insurance expansion
A Florida Senate panel has approved two proposals designed to help expand the availability of health insurance for low-income citizens. There are only three week left in the state’s legislative session and still a significant amount of work needing to be done concerning the state’s compliance with the Affordable Care Act. As such, lawmakers have been working feverishly in order to draft measures that are expected to have a significant impact on the health insurance structure of the state.
Health care law causes division among lawmakers
The Affordable Care Act has proven controversial throughout the country and many states, Florida included, have shown strong opposition to the law despite the fact it was upheld by the Supreme Court last year. One of the provisions of the health care law calls for the establishment of a health insurance exchange in the state, which is to be developed using federal funds. Many Florida lawmakers are staunchly opposed to accepting federal money for the endeavor, claiming that owing the federal government would be a fiscally irresponsible move.
Proposal aims to refuse federal funding
One of the proposals introduced to the Senate panel this week calls for the state to bypass federal funds entirely in the matter of health insurance. Instead, the health insurance exchange, or any expansion measure meant to make coverage more accessible, should be state-funded. This proposal has won strong support among legislators, but Governor Rick Scott, who is a strong opponent of the Affordable Care Act, claims that the proposal is inadequate. Scott suggests that refusing federal funds would introduce enormous financial strain on taxpayers as they would be forced to cover the majority of the costs associated with the state’s health insurance efforts.
Federal funding could help consumers afford health insurance coverage
An alternative proposal was presented by Senator Joe Negron earlier this week. This proposal calls for the state to accept federal funds, but issue these funds to health insurance customers as vouchers. These vouchers would be used to help consumers cover the costs of health insurance coverage obtained in the private market. This plan was unanimously passed by a Senate committee this week, after having garnered the support of Governor Rick Scott.