Reports: Florida could save money expanding Medicaid

MIAMI — A new health report estimates the state could expand its Medicaid coverage to more than one million residents without spending additional money by offsetting costs in other safety nets.

Thursday's study by Georgetown University Health Policy Institute comes days after Gov. Rick Scott softened his staunch opposition against the federal health care law.

Researchers said the state could save up to $100 million a year by expanding Medicaid by scaling back on state-funded mental health and substance abuse service programs and other hospital safety net funds, arguing that insured patients won't have to rely on them as much.

The report estimates between 800,000 and 1.3 million Floridians could qualify for coverage if the state expands its rolls.

Scott wants to know whether tax hikes would be needed to fund it.

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