Senate Rules Committee Chair David Simmons, whose committee will decide the next move in the bid to get health care coverage for low-income Floridians, said Wednesday that his is looking forward to passage of a bill that will help Floridians be healthy and stay healthy.

Simmons said the Senate Health Policy Committee’s bill is “important and I hope our colleagues in the House see that. It is not a case of expanding Medicaid. It is a case of expansion of the free enterprise system.”

Speaking at a news conference called by the League of Women Voters of Florida, the Altamonte Springs Republican said the House’s views on health care are valid and “we must look at ways to improve on the bill and ensure their views are reflected.”

The senator said the “challenge is to give a hand up, not a hand out. That’s what people want. We need to improve the economy in the state of Florida, and we need a healthy Florida to do that. I look forward to obtaining passage of a bill that ensures Floridians are healthy and stay healthy.”

Jack Mcray of AARP said there are 160,000 seniors, age 50 to 64 who would be eligible to access for affordable quality healthcare. “Let’s bring the dollars back to Florida,” said Mcray.

On a conference call later, national expert Joan Alker noted that Florida lost $3 billion dollars of Florida tax money in 2014, and every day in 2015, is losing $10 million of Florida tax money as it flows to other states, which have accepted the federal healthcare funds.

Alker called the Florida Senate’s action this week “exciting and unique”, noting, ” there appears to be considerable momentum.”

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