TALLAHASSEE -- The Florida Senate tomorrow will vote on a plan to expand health care to 1 million low income Floridians with $51 billion of federal money, but that seems to be as far as the plan will go.
Senate Budget Chairman Joe Negron, R-Stuart, said he will continue pushing his plan until "they turn the lights out in the Senate chamber," but it appears that the House and Senate will be unable to resolve major differences in what type of coverage low Floridians should receive and how the state should pay for it.
"I'd like to pass a bill that provides health insurance premium assistance to a million Floridians who get up and go to work everyday but need some help with paying their health insurance premiums. That's what I'd prefer, but that papears unlikely at this point."
The Senate plan takes the federal money to expand Medicaid made available through the Affordable Care Act and puts 1 million low income Floridians into private insurance plans made available through Florida Health Kids, a low-cost insurance option for children.
The House, in contrast, proposed a health coverage plan that gives 115,700 working parents each a $2,000 stipend -- they would also have to kick in $300 each -- to buy some form of health care.
House Speaker Will Weatherford and other House Republicans were adamantly opposed to taking the federal dollars because, they argued, the federal government couldn't be trusted to make good on their promise to help pay for the expansion.
Negron said the House and Senate were at odds over the funding issue, but also some of the basics of the Corcoran plan.
Negron said he had doubts that $2,000 could buy adequate health coverage.