Published: Apr 23, 2010 8:26 PM EDT

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - The Senate's top budget-writer says overhauling Florida's Medicaid program remains a key unresolved issue.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said Friday that although the issue is outside the budget process it is affecting decisions in talks on spending differences between the House and Senate.

The House has proposed expanding private managed care for Medicaid from a current five-county experiment to all 67 counties over the next five years in hopes of reducing costs.

The Senate has proposed an immediate expansion to 19 more counties. Budget talks are scheduled to continue at least through the weekend as lawmakers race to finish the legislative session on time next Friday.