TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Private companies and networks of hospitals and other providers would deliver Medicaid health care services across Florida under Republican legislation that passed the state House on a largely party-line vote Thursday.

Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who made millions as a health care CEO before his election, supports the managed care concept. The legislation goes to the GOP-controlled Senate.

Republican lawmakers argued that the measure would improve services, curtail fraud and hold down escalating costs. The $20 billion state-federal program covers 2.9 million low-income and disabled people including 27 percent of Florida's children. Those expenses, though, are expected to grow to $28 billion by the 2014-15 fiscal year.

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