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Senate Health Policy Committee to decide how Medicaid expansion would be handled

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The Florida Senate is considering a Medicaid expansion and wants to create a new program to administer the expansion called the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange.

Senate Health policy committee members will not only debate the merits of tapping into available Medicaid dollars under the federal health-care law, often called Obamacare, but will also debate the merits of what organization should administer the new program.

Senate Health Policy Committee chairman state Sen. Aaron Bean wants the Florida Health Choices Program to run the program. Florida Health Choices was established in 2008  ago under the direction of then House Speaker Marco Rubio and championed by then House member Bean, who also  once served as the chairman of the Florida Health Choices board of directors.

It has received $2.4 million in state money and has insured about 100 Floridians since opening its doors, including 56 people who enrolled in the program when it started selling Obamacare-compliant plans during the second open enrollment period for Obamacare, which ended Feb 15.

Senate Health Policy Committee Vice Chairman state Sen. Eleanor Sobel  has an amendment that would give the administration of the FHIX program to the Florida Healthy Kids Corp., which was established in 1990 as a private not-for-profit corporation charged with increasing access to  health insurance for school- aged children.

Which entity should administer the new program will be debated when the committee takes up an amendment to Senate proposed bill, SPB 7044, offered by Sobel.

Bean says Florida Health Choices can do the job because of the platform it has developed.

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