FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Federal health officials are pushing Florida lawmakers to include a provision in their Medicaid overhaul that would require private health plans to spend 85 percent of funds on patient care, state health officials said Wednesday.

That issue has been a sticking point as the state seeks to expand a five-county Medicaid privatization program statewide under a pair of bills passed this year by the Republican-led Legislature. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services must sign off on the plan and signaled all along they wanted the state to adopt the 85 percent provision.

Instead, lawmakers created a profit-sharing plan requiring providers to generate a 5 percent savings the first year, which could save the state about $1 billion. Texas has a similar program.

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