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  1. Health

Senate approves 'NegronCare' but not unanimously

Sen. Jeff Brandes was the lone spoiler in the Senate's attempt to maintain a unified front on the Medicaid expansion debate.

The St. Petersburg Republican was the sole "no" vote on HB 7169, which the Senate approved 38-1. This amended bill contains the Senate's plan, an alternative to expansion that qualifies for $51 billion federal dollars to insure 1 million people.

The measure now heads back to the House but likely won't be taken up again since that chamber already rejected the Senate plan last week.

Brandes said he voted against the plan because it relies heavily on federal dollars. He doesn't believe the government can afford it now, and he doesn't believe it will make good on its promises over the long term.

"Our federal government has run a huge deficit and this is just going to continue to add to that deficit, and I truly don't believe they're going to continue the federal match," Brandes said after the vote.

The Senate's plan, originally contained in SB 1816, had received unanimous votes in its two previous committee stops. But that is partially because Brandes doesn't sit on either of them.

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