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Gov. Rick Scott asks state analysts to revise Medicaid expansion estimates

Now that the federal government has removed some of the uncertainty about how the health care law will be implemented, Gov. Rick Scott wants state analysts to revise their cost-benefit estimates for Medicaid expansion.

Scott supports drawing down federal dollars to expanding Medicaid, but House and Senate Republicans disagreed. Now, the governor supports a Senate plan that uses the estimated $51 billion federal dollars to purchase private insurance policies for roughly 1 million Floridians.

Last week, the governor's chief economist, Michael Anway, emailed members of the committee that estimates Medicaid costs. He asked them to schedule a meeting to revise their numbers.

There are signs that the state could save even more by expanding Medicaid or implementing the Senate plan than what was calculated just last month.

Earlier this week, state estimators said expanding Medicaid could save the state $430 million in general revenue funds by reducing demand on the Medically Needy program. The state would save much less, about $130 million, if it implemented the House's alternative, the report said. The House plan is to use uses state funds to subsidize basic coverages for about 115,000 people and banks on another 350,000 Floridians purchasing insurance on federal exchanges in exchange for tax breaks.

Those Medically Needy savings were not including in last month's report that said the state would draw down $51 billion in federal aid and spend roughly $3.5 billion in state funds over the first 10 years if it expanding Medicaid.

The state Agency for Health Care Administration recently compared the projected costs of the House and Senate plans and determined the House plan would spend $4 billion more in general revenue dollars  compared to the Senate plan and forgo $46 billion in federal funding.

This week, the Florida Hospital Association echoed Scott's request for revised Medicaid expansion estimates in a letter to the governor. In addition to calculating for savings under Medically Needy, the hospitals also believe that there will be reduced burdens on county health departments, substance abuse and mental health treatment, and AIDS drug treatment programs that save the state money.

Download FHA letter on Medicaid expansion estimates