UPDATE: Sen. Aaron Bean's proposed alternative to Medicaid expansion is on the Senate's agenda for Monday. But it appears the Fernandina Beach Republican is drastically changing the contents of the bill and it might not have anything to do with Medicaid expansion after he's done with it.
For now, Bean's amendment deletes all the text from SB 1844, essentially leaving it a blank document with a description saying the bill will deal solely with the state's health exchange, called Florida Health Choices. The Florida Times-Union's political blog says Bean wants to use the bill solely to bolster the state exchange and it would no longer be a potential vehicle for providing health coverages to poor Floridians.
ORIGINAL POST: Although the Senate rejected Medicaid expansion, it insisted on creating an alternative that still qualified for related federal funding to insure 1 million Floridians, an estimated $51 billion.
The Senate has unanimously supported a plan by Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, that accomplishes just that. Meanwhile, a second plan by Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, was more controversial. Only Republicans voted in favor of Bean's plan at its three committee hearings, saying they liked his proposal less than Negron's but wanted to keep it alive in hopes of bargaining with the House.
Earlier this week, Rules Chairman John Thrasher, R-St. Augustine, said that it was unlikely Bean's plan would make it to the Senate floor for a vote since Negron's plan had wider support. But today, Bean's plan, SB 1844, joined Negron's proposal, SB 1816, on the Senate agenda for Monday.
Stakeholder groups are now scrambling to interpret what that means and figure out if the Bean plan, which could pass on a simple majority vote without Democrats' support, will be the Senate's attempt at compromise with the House. It would use roughly $30 million in state funding a year to provide about $120 in subsidies to participants to help them afford basic coverages.