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Bipartisan biz coalition says now is time to pass healthcare plan

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Bipartisan business group A Healthy Florida Works continues to press legislative leaders to move ahead with a plan to provide healthcare access to uninsured Floridians.

Marpan Supply and Recycling President and Chief Executive Officer Kim Williams said at a Tallahassee press conference on Wednesday that the the Florida Senate is moving ahead with a health plan that would hold down the premium for all those who are currently insured by eliminating cost shifting as well as providing care to 800,000 uninsured working Floridians. Cost shifting occurs when providers shift the costs of providing care for the uninsured onto those with private commercial insurance.

“We’ve got to hope the Legislature works together to finish the project and get it done this year before they go home,” said Williams, who is part of an Associated Industries of Florida-supported group called A Healthy Florida Works, a bipartisan coalition of businesses and individuals who support tapping  into federal Medicaid dollars to provide access to those living at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level as outlined in the federal healthcare law, commonly called Obamacare.

The Florida Senate has proposed what it’s calling FHIX — Florida Health Insurance Exchange Program — which would expand Medicaid access and, initially, place the newly eligible into Medicaid HMOs. A Healthy Florida Works is supporting that plan.

The Florida House, though, has steadfastly opposed any Medicaid expansion and, further, has eliminated from its proposed spending plan for 2015-16 any supplemental Medicaid funds known as Low Income Pool dollars.

The Senate has built its budget with a Medicaid expansion as well as the continuance of LIP dollars. As a result the chambers’ spending plans are $4 billion apart.

The House and Senate are poised to consider the budgets today in session.

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