Florida economists discuss cost of Medicaid expansion

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks during a press conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul, a surprise decision from the vocal critic of President Barack Obama's plan. (AP Photo/Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Cotterell)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott speaks during a press conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, Gov. Rick Scott announced plans to expand Medicaid coverage to roughly 900,000 more people under the federal health overhaul, a surprise decision from the vocal critic of President Barack Obama's plan. (AP Photo/Tallahassee Democrat, Bill Cotterell)

FORT LAUDERDALE — Legislative economists will discuss the cost of expanding Medicaid days after Gov. Rick Scott signaled he wanted to extend coverage to roughly 900,000 additional residents under the Affordable Care Act.

The Office of Economic and Demographic Research meets Monday in Tallahassee. Medicaid expansion cost projections have varied widely, but the latest projection would cost the state $3 billion over the next decade.

State economists estimate about 80 percent of those eligible would apply.

Scott recommended the state expand the program for three years or as long as the federal government pays 100 percent of the bill. But the Legislature must still sign off.

A House committee meets Thursday to discuss the issue. A Senate committee is also still weighing a decision and plans to have a recommendation in early March.

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