Members of the Senate's health care budget committee approved two different Medaid expansion alternatives, saying they want to keep their options open as they attempt to compromise with House Republicans.
However, the panel's unanimous support of Sen. Joe Negron's proposal made it clear that Senate Republicans are willing to accept $51 billion in federal funds to insure 1 million poor Floridians even if the House isn't.
“As we see all the different proposals, I think this is truly the most responsible use of our taxpayer dollars," said Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah.
Both Republican and Democrats praised Negron for coming up with a plan they said would improve the health of poor Floridians and boost the economy. Stakeholder groups also lined up to speak in favor of "NegronCare," including the Associated Industries of Florida, a conservative business organization.
Garcia and the panel's other Republicans also voted in favor of Sen. Aaron Bean's much different approach. As it became clear that Negron's plan had the votes to pass, Bean urged members to vote "yes" on both to help with negotiations with House Republicans, who have a plan similar to his.
“If you say 'no' now it may be killing the last little bit of hope" for compromise, Bean, R-Fernandina Beach, said.