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Seeking deal with House and Scott, Senate makes fixes to 'FHIX'

Senate President Andy Gardiner on Tuesday offered a revamped version of a health care expansion proposal in an effort to gain House support and a possible breakthrough in advance of next week's special session on the budget. The revised bill addresses a number of House criticisms of the Senate's proposal.
The changes to the Senate health care plan (formerly SB 7044 and now SB 2A) include eliminating a requirement that patients in the Senate FHIX plan (Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange) must first be enrolled in managed medical assistance plans; revises work requirements to say that enrollees' searches for jobs must be through the state's Career Source portal; gives patients the option of enrolling in health care plans available on a federal health care exchange; and prohibits the state from seeking a federal waiver to implement FHIX that varies significantly from the legislation.
"These adjustments are the product of feedback from senators, constituents and other stakeholders and together represent a continued effort by the Senate to advance solutions and build consensus around a fiscally responsible expansion of health care coverage," Gardiner said in a statement. "This Florida solution will improve access to health care for low income Floridians and mitigate the impact to our economy as we transition from LIP to a more sustainable solution to the health care challenges facing our state. The amendment maintains, but strengthens, the core principles of the FHIX plan which earned the overwhelming bipartisan support of the Senate, as well as the endorsement of an extensive coalition of business and community leaders across Florida."
The Legislature will reconvene June 1 to resume unresolved budget talks and consider the Senate's health care proposal. The Senate FHIX plan is scheduled to be discussed in a House workshop at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 1.