Published: Mar 31, 2011 11:00 PM EDT
Updated: Mar 31, 2011 8:00 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Private companies and networks of hospitals and other providers would deliver Medicaid health care services in Florida under legislation passed in the state House.

The chamber voted along party lines Thursday on a pair of bills (HB 7107, HB 7109) that Republican sponsors say would help curtail the escalating cost of the $20 billion state-federal program that covers low-income and disabled people.

Democrats opposed the legislation, arguing that cost savings and the quality of such managed care plans are uncertain.

They wanted to hold off on a decision until more information is available from a five-county experiment in managed care.

The legislation next goes go to the Senate.

It also will require approval of a waiver by the federal government, which pays most of the cost.

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