News and analysis
February 11, 2015

Charity Funds for Fla. Hospitals at Risk in Medicaid Fight

Florida hospitals could lose hundreds of millions of U.S. government dollars for treating poor and uninsured patients in what Republican lawmakers contend is an Obama administration ploy to get the state to expand Medicaid, the Tribune/Scripps news service writes. Eliot Fishman, a high-ranking Medicaid official, said at a health-care summit in Orlando that Florida's payments from the federal Low Income Pool, or LIP, would cease when the state's current agreement for the funds expires on June 30.

Losing the charity-care reimbursement—which amounted to more than $1-billion last year— would put an immediate hole in Gov. Rick Scott's proposed $77-billion budget for next year, which includes LIP funding. Republican legislators have opposed expanding Medicaid to cover more of Florida's working poor, in accordance with the Affordable Care Act, saying they don't trust the federal government to follow through on promises to cover the cost.