Fla. looks to Mass. for health care advice

Healthcare Debate
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 17:12:00-05

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP)-- Two Massachusetts experts are giving Florida lawmakers starkly different opinions about how the health care law has impacted that state.

A Senate committee tasked with implementing the federal health overhaul met in Tallahassee Tuesday to examine Massachusetts' experience with the law.

Massachusetts laid the groundwork for the federal health law with its 2006 health care initiative and is currently the only state with an individual mandate.

One expert said the number of uninsured residents fell by two-thirds and premiums dropped. But another urged lawmakers not to expand Medicaid because it depresses economic activity and eliminates jobs.

Lawmakers must decide whether to extend Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 residents and whether to partner with the federal government on a state health exchange or allows the feds to run it alone.