Fla. Hospital Officials Want to Expand Medicaid

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida hospital officials are lobbying lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million residents under the federal health law.

Tuesday's rally in Tallahassee comes one day after a Senate panel voted against traditional Medicaid expansion and instead proposed a voucher system where patients would obtain private insurance through Florida Healthy Kids. Patients may have to pay premiums and co-pays. State funds could be used to subsidize that. A House panel has also vetoed expansion.

Hospital executives said they're less concerned about the details as long as Florida draws down an estimated $51 billion in federal dollars and covers more uninsured residents.

Hospitals will be hit doubly hard if the state declines to expand Medicaid because the federal funding streams that hospitals rely on to pay for uninsured patients will end.

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