In the latest escalation of a complicated standoff between the federal government and the state, Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue federal officials for tying funding for some hospitals and other health-care providers to Medicaid expansion.
The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has tried to link an extension of the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program to whether the state expands Medicaid coverage. LIP, which provides money to hospitals and other health providers that serve large numbers of poor and uninsured patients, is set to expire June 30.
“Our citizens already pay federal taxes that go into the federal LIP program,” Scott said in a statement released by his office. “Now, President Obama has decided that the state must take on a larger Medicaid program, forcing our taxpayers to pay even more to government, before they get their own federal tax dollars back. This is outrageous, and specifically what the Supreme Court warned against.”
Legislators are divided over whether to move forward with a $2.8 billion expansion of Medicaid. The Senate has approved a plan that would use the funding to help lower-income Floridians purchase private health insurance, but the House has joined Scott in opposition to the proposal. Lawmakers have already conceded that they will not finish the state budget by the scheduled conclusion of the legislative session May 1, in part because of the questions surrounding the $2.2 billion in LIP funding.
Source: The News Service of Florida