The Florida lawmakers struck a deal how to shore the $1.2 billion decrease in federal funding for the Low Income Pool program, which helps hospitals and other health-care providers care for large numbers of low-income patients. The plan use $400 million of state money to draw down other federal funds to boost payments to all hospitals for Medicaid services in an effort to offset that drop.
“It’s important … that we provided some stability in the health-care system for hospitals to understand that, yes, Low Income Pool is going to change, but we’re going to make a financial commitment on the state standpoint to help in that transition, and that’s what we did,” Senate President Andy Gardiner told The News Service of Florida. “Once that was done, I think that’s a huge step forward.”
A spokesman for Gov. Rick Scott, who has voiced opposition to using state tax dollars to fill in the loss of LIP, said the governor’s office was still reviewing the proposal.
Still, some hospitals lost money. Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami would see the payments it receives from the state — after contributions the hospital makes to the formula — tumble from $270.5 million under the old model to $263.8 million under the new formula. Funding for Bay Medical Center, in Bay County, would slide from $12.8 million to almost $9.9 million.
Two Pensacola hospitals are big winners. Sacred Heart would see its share of the funds increase from almost $19.7 million in the current year to almost $28.1 million next year. Funding for Baptist Hospital jumps from $7.65 million to almost $10.9 million.