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Legislature Being Pushed for Medicaid Expansion

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If Florida were to expand Medicaid, it would translate into $5 billion pumped into the state a year as the federal government pays for the new benefits. 

Non-expansion would mean that the public continues to pay for the treatment of uninsured, but without an annual $2 billion dollar reimbursement from a federal program that is scheduled to end this summer. 

A new group of 700 businesses called "A Healthy Florida Works" is now pushing the Legislature for expansion with a plan specially designed for Florida. Tallahassee small business owner Kim Williams speaks for the organization.

"The plan that we have presented answered the objections of many of the legislators in the last session and I feel pretty good about it," Williams said.

Williams says the plan would impose small monthly premiums on Medicaid patients and require them to be looking or training for work. 

A Healthy Florida Works includes business owners like Williams and trade groups such as Associated Industries and the Florida Hospital Association.

The organization believes that a Medicaid plan crafted in Florida for Florida will earn support from state lawmakers. But, so far, no bills have been filed for the legislative session that begins in March.

Rick Stone is a reporter with WLRN in Miami. WLRN is a partner with Health News Florida, which receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.