Florida House and the Senate reached tentative agreements Saturday on money to hospitals and providers for the poor, and a $207-per-pupil increase in education funding.
low income pool
Federal officials fired back in court against Gov. Rick Scott’s contention that the Obama administration has unconstitutionally tried to link expanding Medicaid with the continuation of a key health-care funding program.
Scott and House Republicans have repeatedly said they have no interest in using Medicaid expansion funds from Obamacare to close a $2.2 billion budget gap and insure more Floridians.
If Florida has to instead offset the remaining $1.2 billion deficit for low-income healthcare with tax revenues, that could eat into funding for other priorities, like public education and tax cuts.
A roughly $261 per student increase from the current year is at stake, as is a a $690 million tax-cut package, if a health care-fueled budget impasse continues in the Legislature.
Scott’s commission is to make recommendations for a special legislative session on health funding scheduled to begin June 1, but it includes beef, housing, real estate, banking and hospitality experts, but no health care executives.
Florida House and Senate leaders did not put out a list of topics that would be discussed during the special session, leaving room for disagreement over the final “call” that will be issued to lawmakers.
The federal government confirmed that it gave officials in those states the same message delivered to Texas and Florida about the risk to funding for so-called “uncompensated care pools” — Medicaid money that helps pay the cost of care for the uninsured.
The lawsuit plays into a heated battle over a Senate plan to use $2.8 billion in Medicaid expansion funding to help lower-income Floridians purchase private health insurance. But the House and Scott — who once favored straight-up Medicaid expansion — oppose that idea.