Obama Administration Agrees To Continue Florida Low Income Program Healthcare Funds
By Dr. James Palermo // June 25, 2015
EXTENSION OF LIP FUNDS GOES THROUGH 2017
With the Obama administration and the state having reached an agreement to continue funding the hospital Low Income Pool (LIP) for two more years but at a much lower cost, Florida Governor Rick Scott said, “Our fight for Florida families saw a major victory today with the Obama Administration finally agreeing to continue funding the Low Income Pool program. It is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit against the Obama Administration for them to continue this funding apart from Florida’s decision not to expand Obamacare.”
The Agreement in Principle from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on the continuation of the LIP funding states that Florida will receive $1 billion this year, which is about half the current amount, and $600 million for 2016-2017.
The Obama administration and the state Senate wanted to expand Medicaid to cover roughly 800,000 more Floridians rather than paying hospitals that care for the uninsured retroactively. However, Scott and Florida House Republicans opposed taking any money tied to Obama’s Affordable Care Act.
Under the present provisions the state will use $400 million from general revenue to funnel money to the hospitals by increasing Medicaid provider rates.
“The Agreement in Principle provided by the Obama Administration today makes it clear that our state must begin quickly working to reduce the costs of hospitals, many of which are making record profits, so they are not relying on this federal funding in the years ahead.” –Gov. Rick Scott
Concerned about the future of the LIP, Scott said, “The Agreement in Principle provided by the Obama Administration today makes it clear that our state must begin quickly working to reduce the costs of hospitals, many of which are making record profits, so they are not relying on this federal funding in the years ahead.”
The legislative battle over the funds created a contentious riff during the regular legislative session and prompted Scott to file a lawsuit against the federal government, which accuses the Obama administration of withholding the hospital funds because the state refused to expand Medicaid.
With the underlying disagreement between Florida and the Obama administration ongoing, it does not appear that Scott and the state have plans to withdraw the lawsuit despite Tuesday’s announcement.