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One Less Medicaid Option: Bean Plan Gone

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

State Sen. Aaron Bean's bare-bones Florida Health Choices Plus plan is no longer an option.

An amendment presented by state Sen. Joe Negron removed the language to create that plan from the bill. Senators approved the amendment, which gives the Agency for Healthcare Administration $900,000 to fund the current Florida Health Choices Program, the state's insurance marketplace and deleted the language that created Sen. Bean's plan. 

By a vote of 36-0 0n the Senate floor, lawmakers approved the bill without the language to include the Florida Health Choices Plus plan, which was presented as an alternative way to cover some of the state's uninsured instead of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. 

Now the Senate is left with one alternative plan: Healthy Florida, the plan sponsored by Sen. Negron that would cover about 1.1 million uninsured Floridians using federal money. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved the bill last week, and it's now ready for a floor vote. 

The plan provides premium assistance for people to buy health insurance.

"They still have to pay some, they still have to pay co-pays and deductibles," Negron said. "They still have their patient responsibilities, but we're not putting them into a program that in many ways, even though we've done our best to reform it, still does not give people the control they have in having their own insurance card."

Republicans in the House say they're concerned the federal government won't keep its promise of funding, and they've been unwilling to move forward with a similar bill. The House has approved a very different plan, one that rejects federal funds and only covers about 115,000.

There are no signs of a compromise. The session ends Friday. 

Lottie Watts covers health and health policy for Health News Florida, now a part of WUSF Public Media. She also produces Florida Matters, WUSF's weekly public affairs show.