Panel Backs Health Coverage For Part Time Workers

A Florida House panel has approved a measure to offer health insurance to the state's part-time employees and their family members as part of the federal health overhaul.

The panel could have decided Thursday to cap part-time employees to working 30 hours per week or chosen not to provide any health coverage, which would result in a $318 million fine under the Affordable Care Act.

Republican Rep. Carlos Trujillo recommended offering 8,737 part-time employees coverage under the lowest level bronze health plan.

Several Democrats pushed to offer all state employees the same coverage.

But Trujillo warned, "We do have a fixed budget. We can't run a deficit."

A Senate panel also recently agreed to extend coverage to part-time employees, estimating it will cost about $137 million a year.

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