Republican Gov. Rick Scott will meet with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell on Wednesday to discuss the future of an important hospital funding program, his office said.
Uncertainty over the $2.2 billion Low Income Pool, which reimburses safety-net hospitals and county health departments for uncompensated care, has paralyzed state lawmakers tasked with building the state budget.
The program is scheduled to end June 30, unless the federal government approves a proposed successor program.
"I look forward to meeting with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell tomorrow to discuss the importance of funding the federal Low Income Pool program in Florida," Scott said in a statement. "We hope HHS will reconsider LIP funding in Florida, and it's critical for us to get that information immediately so the Legislature can construct a budget that best meets the needs of low income families during a special session."
Will the feds welcome Scott with open arms? Maybe not.
Last week, the governor filed a lawsuit accusing Burwell's agency of trying to coerce Florida into expanding Medicaid by threatening to cut off LIP funding. Kansas and Texas joined the legal challenge Monday.
And don't forget about the Scott Administration's bizarre back and forth with the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In early April, Scott's top healthcare administrator sent out a press release saying CMS had suddenly suspended the negotiations over LIP. But federal health care officials essentially said the release was untrue.