Scott: HHS’ Stall On Timeline May Force Special Session
By Office of Florida Governor Rick Scott // April 21, 2015
TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA – Governor Rick Scott released the following statement regarding the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) choosing not to respond to the LIP amendment request in a timeframe that will help develop the 2015-2016 budget before the end of the fiscal year in June:
“While we are pushing the federal healthcare department to continue the LIP program for low income Floridians, it is clear that the federal government is not planning to move quickly enough to help develop the FY 15-16 budget by May 1.” Scott said. “I believe that a compromise can be reached that allows for a significant tax cut and historic per student education funding, while supporting critical state services if the House and the Senate begin working immediately on allocations that set aside adequate reserves to wait for the federal government’s decision on the LIP amendment.
“If the House and Senate fail to agree on allocations and begin a budget process that can be completed in an extended session, then I will call the House and Senate into a Special Session to pass a budget that continues current year funding levels for critical services like education, law enforcement, children services, and transportation.
The continuation budget should be silent on any LIP funds as we wait on the federal government’s answer to our request that they continue assisting low income Floridians.
“If our state does not have a final budget at the completion of this Session, we will convene a Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding to examine the revenues of Florida hospitals, insurance and healthcare providers and how any taxpayer money contributes to the profits or losses of these institutions in Florida. A thoughtful analysis of how taxpayer money supports Florida hospitals, insurance and healthcare providers will guide us in a Special Session and aid in the development of the FY 16-17 budget. This analysis will also help us prepare for the loss of LIP funding if the federal government (CMS) decides to decline our amendment request before October.
“I remain committed to giving Florida families back more of the tax money they pay into government, and I hope that the Senate will agree to do this in order to grow our economy. If they fail to cut taxes in this Legislative Session, it is clear that cutting taxes by more than $1 billion will become the top priority for next year’s Legislative Session when there is no longer any uncertainty around healthcare funding, which is already over 40 percent of our state’s $77 billion budget.”