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$10 a Month for Health Coverage?

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

State Sen. Aaron Bean, who doesn't want Florida to accept federal funds to cover any of Florida's 4 million uninsured under the Affordable Care Act, will trot out a low-ball alternative Tuesday at the Senate Health Policy Committee, which he chairs.

Rose Naff, executive director of one of Bean's pet projects, Florida Health Choices, is scheduled to make the presentation. Florida Health Choices, created five years ago while Bean was House Speaker, was intended to be an online marketplace for small businesses to look for coverage. But it is not yet operating.

Bean's plan, which he calls Florida Health Choices Plus, would be funneled through Naff's operation.

It would provide $10-a-month subsidies from state general tax revenue for some of the 600,000 Floridians who make less than the federal poverty level, which for a one-person household is $11,490 a year. Despite their low incomes, those who enroll would have to pay about $20 a month.

Bean's plan would be open only to those adults who are working or can prove they are looking for work, yet the income limits would apparently rule out anyone who works full-time, since the minimum wage for full-time work in Florida this year is $7.79 an hour.

The Times/Herald Bureauhas done a comparison of Bean's bill, SPB 7144, with Sen. Joe Negron's Healthy Florida proposal, which would cover 1 million uninsured Floridians with $51 billion in federal funds over a decade. The funds are for expansion of Medicaid to households up to 138 percent of poverty.

For more information on Bean's plan, see News Service of Florida's story.  

Florida Health Choices Plus plans do not meet the requirements of the federal health law.

In other health-coverage news, House Speaker Will Weatherford told the Florida Legislative Black Caucus that the House will have its own plan soon, the Palm Beach Post reports. Like Bean, Weatherford is opposed to accepting federal funds.

Carol Gentry, founder and special correspondent of Health News Florida, has four decades of experience covering health finance and policy, with an emphasis on consumer education and protection.