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Fla. Dems upset state playing catch up on ACA

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 25, 2013 at 5:37 pm •  Published: January 25, 2013

The deadline for all products to be filed is May 1, he said. The Legislative session ends May 3.

"I can understand why you're frustrated because this torrential rain of filings is due any day and we're now asking can we have some time and exemption and we're hitting you at the last minute," said Miller.

But she stressed her agency has been working all along on the issue, but that it's been difficult because constant updates from federal health officials are making it a fluid process.

Florida lawmakers are facing two major decisions regarding the federal health overhaul. They must choose whether to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more low-income families and whether to have the state run on its own the health exchange where people can pick coverages or partner with the federal government. The federal government is offering to pick up the entire tab of the Medicaid expansion for the first three years and about 90 percent after that.

Florida spends about $21 billion a year to cover nearly 3 million of the state's poorest residents, about half of whom are children.

Scott and lawmakers also have another new wrinkle to consider.

A quirk in the federal health law means some U.S. citizens would be forced to go without coverage, while legal immigrants residing in the same state could still get it.

The overhaul expanded the federal-state program for low-income and disabled people but the Supreme Court made the Medicaid expansion optional for states. That means if Scott decides not to expand Medicaid, Floridians who were born in the U.S. may not get coverage under Medicaid, but legal immigrants could receive coverage under the exchange.

That decision could put Scott in an awkward position on immigration. He has been vocally opposed to expanding Medicaid and the federal health law, saying he is worried about the cost to Florida taxpayers.

"We are concerned about how legal immigrants and U.S. citizens are treated differently under the president's health care law, which we continue to learn more about. The governor is focused on finding solutions that will lower cost and improve the access and quality of health care for all Florida families," said Scott's spokeswoman Melissa Sellers.

Arizona officials called attention to the problem last week, when Republican Gov. Jan Brewer opted to accept the Medicaid expansion.


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