After years of haggling, the federal government has agreed to give Florida $1.5 billion to cover the state’s Low Income Pool, a massive uptick from the original amount proposed under former President Barack Obama.
The number is nearly a billion dollars more than what the Obama Administration gave to Florida for the LIP, which supports healthcare providers that give uncompensated care to underinsured or uninsured patients.
Gov. Rick Scott, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, and Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) Secretary Justin Senior made the announcement Wednesday afternoon.
Scott attributed the surge in funding to a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.
“It is great to have a partner in Washington who is willing to work with us to help our state,” he said. “Florida was on the frontline of fighting against federal overreach under President Obama and it is refreshing to now have a federal government that treats us fairly and does not attempt to coerce us into expanding Medicaid.”
The governor said the surge in funding would be a huge boon to healthcare providers in Florida and would help doctors and hospitals improve healthcare for patients statewide.
“Working with the Trump Administration to secure a commitment of $1.5 billion in LIP funding for our state will truly improve the quality and access to health care for our most vulnerable populations,” he said. “I appreciate their quick turnaround and commitment to working with Florida to provide additional flexibility for how these funds can be used more efficiently, including allowing money to follow each patient.”
According to a press release, state officials and the Trump Administration have had ongoing discussions regarding the LIP funding since early this year.
“From day one, we have been committed to working with our state partners to ensure they have the flexibility they need to make decisions that best reflect the unique needs of their populations,” said Secretary Price. “Today’s announcement reflects that commitment on the part of the Trump Administration.”
In 2015, Scott repeatedly traded barbs with the Obama Administration over the LIP funding, which was set to be phased out that year. The Obama Administration’s decision to cut the LIP ultimately resulted in a $1 billion hole in the state budget which resulted in a 20-day special session two years ago.
Secretary Senior said the agreement was a step in the right direction for Florida and its Medicaid program.
“We truly feel like our federal partners are listening to our state and our needs and we know that Florida will have the flexibility we need to run our Medicaid program as efficiently as possible while providing the highest level of care in our state’s history,” said Senior.