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Senate to meet, ready FHIX for final approval

The Senate is expected to take up its Florida Health Insurance Exchange program this afternoon, readying it for final passage.

FHIX is a health care program designed to use federal Medicaid funds to subsidize insurance for low-income Floridians. Not every uninsured person would qualify, however. Participants must be able to prove that they are working, actively seeking work, in school, disabled or caring for a disabled relative to recieve support through the program.

The plan, largely the brainchild of Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, has been amended before unanimous committee votes twice this week, each time making it more palatable to conservative members of the Legislature, particularly in the House.

Under the current language, FHIX would sunset after two years. Majority Leader Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, pushed for that change, saying it would allow the program to function as a pilot and could be evaluated at the two-year mark.

Support in the Senate should be nearly unanimous when they vote on it as Republican and Democratic leadership have been committed to the plan. The decision could come Thursday, unless senators decide to roll it to a final vote this afternoon.