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Medicaid Expansion Cost: $3.5B Over Decade

State budget forecasters say the 10-year cost to Florida of implementing the Affordable Care Act will be $5.2 billion if the state expands Medicaid to about 1 million of the uninsured, and $1.7 billion if it does not, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

That means Florida's cost for the Medicaid expansion is estimated at $3.5 billion, only a small share of the total $55 billion for a decade. The federal government would pay for most of it, according to the health law.

If the state rejects Medicaid expansion, as House Speaker Will Weatherford has urged, it will forfeit $51.4 billion in federal funds, according to the budget estimators.

The reason the state would have costs even if there is no Medicaid expansion  is that the ACA imposes a tax on health insurers, and Florida would have to cover that cost for its Medicaid HMOs.  State workers' health insurance will also cost more because temporary workers will have to be covered.

The analysis is scheduled for release on Friday.

The forecast of cost for the ACA in general and Medicaid expansion in particular has been fraught with politics, with opponents saying it will be far more expensive than supporters believe and supporters saying the economic ripple effects of the federal funds will produce a net gain.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.