Florida residents present views on Affordable Care Act and Medicaid to house panel

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The Florida House Select Committee on Monday listened as residents testified to the panel about how the Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act will impact their ability to find health care.

Democratic Rep. Perry Thurston, who is a member of the panel, said testimony from residents who have struggled to find affordable healthcare puts everything in perspective.

“It’s time for us to move forward without delaying and get this thing implemented,” said Thurston.

Republican Rep. Matt Hudson, vice chair representative for the panel, said the committee needs all necessary information to make a definite decision.

“We are making a decision that is going to affect the state of Florida for decades to come, and yet we’ve been given, effectively, a very large 500-page contract, roughly speaking, but the last 150 pages are blank,” Hudson said.

Another controversial question lawmakers must answer is whether to expand Florida’s Medicaid rules and what it would cost the state to make more low-income families eligible for services.

The latest estimate from the Agency for Health Care Administration says this increased eligibility would cost about $3 billion.

A similar Senate panel met Monday to hear presentations from businesses that would be affected by the new law.

The panel’s chairman, Republican Sen. Joe Negron, said, “The goal today is to probe into the affect of the Affordable Health Care Act on employers both large and small, what we can do as a state to make sure that is as positive of an affect that we can and to mitigate against any unforeseen consequences.”

About Matt Sheehan

Matt can be reached by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news@wuft.org.

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