Florida and Federal Money for Florida Citizens

health-is-wealthMy Comments: You may have read about this already. Or some version of it. I’m really not a fan of Rick Scott; I see him as a shill for the hospital industry who got himself elected governor. His ethics, values and focus are not consistent with mine. This was written by a Joan McCarter and appeared Wednesday, May 6th on an internet news feed I follow.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott is continuing his bizarre quest to get one kind of federal money because he doesn’t want any money that might have anything to do with Obamacare. So he’s not worried about federal government overreach, he’s worried about Obamacare cooties. He’s filed a lawsuit against the feds that will cost his state who knows how much money and on Wednesday traveled to Washington to meet with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to try to convince her to give him the non-Obamacare money.

The governor wants the administration to extend $1 billion in low-income pool funds for hospitals that treat uninsured and Medicaid patients and the federal government wants Florida to expand Medicaid so more people have insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Eight other states, including Texas, also receive the hospital funds and are closely watching the standoff between Florida and the federal government. Florida’s funds are the first to expire on June 30th.

In some of his harshest comments yet, Scott criticized the agency for not giving an answer and essentially blowing apart budget talks.

“Before the session, HHS knew our budget timeline and they did not act to keep the LIP program,” Scott said.

And before the session, Scott and the legislature knew that the LIP program was going to be cancelled in Florida—they were informed of that decision a year ago. If anybody has blown the budget talks apart, it’s Scott and House Republicans—backed by the Koch brothers—who have refused to consider the solution the state’s Republican Senate agreed upon, which is Medicaid expansion. For months, Scott sat out the debate. Then a few weeks ago he decided he had changed his mind about Medicaid expansion (he said he was for it when he was running for re-election last year) and became not just opposed to it, but unhinged about it.

Scott came out of the meeting talking tough. “I told her that we need federal action right now. The low-income families in our state cannot wait on the federal government any longer.” One hopes that Burwell replied that they’d already been waiting far too long for Medicaid.

Scott’s plea didn’t work.

Burwell said in a statement that Florida’s request for the $2.2 billion in federal funding “falls short of the key principles HHS will use in considering proposals regarding uncompensated care pool programs, and the size of the proposed LIP [Low Income Pool] appears larger than what matches the principles.”

She added that the LIP funding was not tied in any way to the state’s decision to not expand Medicaid. What she left unsaid was that it’s not her job to bail the state of Florida out of a budget crisis they made for themselves by rejecting the expansion.