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.
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.
Dramatic miscalculations and eagerness for showdown over health care derailed Florida lawmakers’ plans in the 2015 legislative session–impulses they must guard against if the special session is to go more smoothly.
Lawyers for the state asked Thursday for a federal judge to immediately bar the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services from considering whether the state has expanded Medicaid as the agency weighs a decision on $2.2 billion in funding for hospitals and other health-care providers in Florida.
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 Florida House had made a significant concession to the Senate on hospital funding — but said it would only follow through if the upper chamber dropped insistence on using Medicaid expansion dollars to help lower-income Floridians purchase private insurance.
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.
Gov. Rick Scott’s administration, federal officials and House and Senate leaders have waged a public war over health dollars, which President Obama’s administration declared Tuesday are tied to an expansion of Medicaid.