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Price tag of health overhaul adjusted downward

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 7, 2013 at 6:42 pm •  Published: March 7, 2013

"I let everybody know my position with regard to Medicaid expansion," Scott said. "My position I think is the right position for Florida families. The legislative process is just starting. Hopefully they will do the right thing."

Weatherford has criticized the expansion as a "social experiment" destined to fail. He also contends the federal government will cut the funding.

Medicaid is a $21 billion safety net program for the poor in Florida and currently the federal government picks up about 58 percent of the cost.

Obama's health care law called for states in 2014 to expand eligibility of Medicaid to those making up to 138 percent of the poverty level, or $31,809 for a family of four in Florida. The changes would also require adding people who are below the poverty level but not eligible for Medicaid such as childless adults.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled last summer that expansion of Medicaid is not mandatory and that states can opt out if they choose.

The state has been trying to gauge the full financial impact to state taxpayers of both expanding Medicaid as well as paying higher reimbursement rates to health care providers.

For example, state economists have tried to determine how many years it will take for all those eligible for Medicaid to actually enroll. The economists have also assumed that nearly 151,000 people who are just above the poverty line but now rely on private insurance would drop coverage and switch to Medicaid.

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