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Politics

Scott, Feds Strike $1.5 Billion Deal for Low Income Pool Funding

April 12, 2017 - 6:30pm

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.

 

Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at allison@sunshinestatenews.com or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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Comments

This is the first example of the benefit Florida will have from electing a strong Republican Governor who supported Trump. If we can drain the swamp down ticket, more benefits will come to us through local leaders who support Trump's policies concerning law enforcement, infrastructure improvements including finally handling the water situation in the Everglades and rising seas, education reform, traffic congestion and so much more. Wake up Florida voters and get rid of the "stop Trump" Democrats who have lined their pockets at the expense of our citizens for too many years to count.

It's a shell game. They call it LIP, Dems call it Medicaid. Either way its an entitlement program on the tax payer dime. Medicaid helps people, LIP, rich hospital boards and owners. The sheep will call it a victory over Obamacare...lol...please.

Bandaid. Political jockeying for the 2018 interim elections included anticipated federal level campaign by Scott. Budget stopgap that does not help the 13% of Floridian that are uninsured partly because Florida did not expand number covered under Medicaid. LIP funding was a phaseout under ACA to help fund Medicaid expansion which 1) covered more individuals to 138% federal poverty level and 2) demanded an accountable approved plan on how more individuals would be covered. No plan here to cover more uninsured-just a diversionary tactic to make it appear Florida got something "more", when in fact, the monies Florida gave up through a Medicaid expansion plan sent Florida taxpayer dollars to other states, left more Floridians uninsured, and thereby shifted the cost to the insured-raising premiums. Would have been better for Florida long term if Verma helped Scott structure a Medicaid expansion plan like the one she and Pence got approved for Indiana. (More Republican than Democratic governors expanded Medicaid under ACA). So thanks for the bandaid to fund a budget shortfall long foreseen but this is no solution. Taking Federal money earmarked for Medicaid expansion, tonplug budget shortfall is not a win when Net gain of insured individuals over prior years=None.

I thought the U.S. government was just about broke and looking to get out of the healthcare business and leave 23 million without any healthcare coverage at all. If the Feds (the Trump machine) gives Florida 1.5 billion won't all the other states want that much as well? Has Scott indicated how that 1.5 billion of free money will be used? Who will the winners be in Florida? Can Scott make this kind of deal on his own or will the Florida legislature set up the game plan? It is really wonderful that we will have all that free money!

Do you really think 'all the other states' are on the same level as Florida to President Trump? Get real.

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