Medicaid expansion

More than a dozen states that opted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act have seen enrollments surge way beyond projections, raising concerns that the added costs will strain their budgets when federal aid is scaled back starting in two years.

Some lawmakers warn the price of expanding the health care program for poor and lower-income Americans could mean less money available for other state services, including education.

MyFloridaHouse.gov

A bruising budget battle that divided Republicans in the Florida Legislature is over for now, but the truce is likely only to last a few months.

Legislators passed a nearly $79 billion budget Friday with just days to spare. Legislators had until July 1 to pass a budget or state government would have been partially shut down. They didn't pass a budget during their regular session because they were divided over health care spending. That sparked a stalemate — and finger-pointing will remain when legislators return for their 2016 session.

Florida Senate

Bills that involve state workers' health insurance, nurse-practitioners and hospital regulations died during this week's Legislative special session because the Senate has declined to consider them.

Senate Health Policy Chairman Aaron Bean said in a statement Monday evening that his colleagues felt there wasn't time to consider major policy changes by Friday, the last day of the special session called to finish work on a state budget.

The issues contained in the House bills require "a thorough and proper vetting," said Bean, R-Fernandina Beach.

Associated Press

The Obama administration says there’s no need for a judge to order mediation as Gov. Rick Scott requested because they’ve been engaged in ongoing discussions with Florida.

In court documents filed Tuesday, federal health officials said they talked with Florida as recently as Monday and that the discussions are ongoing and have been productive. The Obama administration also said there is no basis for mediation because their administration has already been clear on the core issue of the lawsuit.

Florida House of Representatives

The Florida House has soundly rejected a Medicaid expansion compromise that even supporters admitted had its flaws and was seemingly doomed to fail almost from the start.

The bill, which tore apart the regular session as the House and Senate bitterly disagreed, was voted down 72-41 Friday after a rousing, nearly seven-hour debate during which nearly 60 lawmakers spoke.

Florida Senate

Key Republicans on Tuesday asserted that the administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott was playing politics in a continuing fight over health care that has already derailed one legislative session this year.

Scott, who has changed his stance on whether to expand Medicaid coverage twice now, is opposed to a plan pushed by Senate Republicans that would use federal money to provide private insurance to low-income Floridians.

StateImpact.org

After a passionate debate, the Florida Senate passed a bill Wednesday that would let a half million people use billions in federal dollars to buy health insurance, and added new measures to address criticism from the House, chiefly that the program would end in three years.

The revised version of the Florida Health Insurance Affordability Exchange, or FHIX, today heads to the floor of the Florida House, which is unlikely to back the proposal.

Key Republicans on Tuesday asserted that the administration of Florida Gov. Rick Scott was playing politics in a continuing fight over health care that has already derailed one legislative session this year.

Scott, who has changed his stance on whether to expand Medicaid coverage twice now, is opposed to a plan pushed by Senate Republicans that would use federal money to provide private insurance to low-income Floridians.

Senators Rake Medicaid Official Over Coals

Jun 3, 2015
Agency for Health Care Administration

 A Senate committee tore into a high-ranking official from Gov. Rick Scott's administration Tuesday in a sign of mounting frustration with the governor's role in the legislative battle over health care.

During a Senate Appropriations Committee meeting held to approve a proposal (SB 2-A) aimed at helping lower-income Floridians get health insurance, committee members from both parties spent more than an hour grilling state Medicaid director Justin Senior over a perceived lack of respect for the Senate.

The Florida Legislature kicked off a 20-day special session Monday, with legislative leaders sounding more open to compromise as they race against the clock to pass a new state budget.

The conciliatory tone espoused by House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner was different than it was just a few weeks ago when the Republican-controlled Legislature ended its session amid finger-pointing and lawsuits.

The Florida House has started laying out its case to opposition for the Senate’s Medicaid expansion plan.

The debate that's been raging in Florida for five years: to expand Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act or not?

Florida lawmakers have consistently decided "no." As other states with stiff opposition to Medicaid expansion, like Iowa and Indiana, have forged modified expansion plans that have been approved by the federal government, Florida has steadfastly rejected any change. 

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Florida House of Representatives

Medicaid expansion supporters are targeting Hialeah — the zip code that saw more health insurance sign-ups than any other in the country.

Several other zip codes with the highest enrollment were also in South Florida. Health advocates say those enrollment numbers show the need to expand Medicaid to more than 800,000 Floridians who fall into a coverage gap. They make too much money to qualify for regular Medicaid but too little to qualify for a subsidy in the federal exchange.

Daylina Miller/Health News Florida

Hospital administrators and Democratic lawmakers are still trying to persuade Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida House on an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

A coalition called "A Healthy Florida Works" is urging the lawmakers to accept a revamped proposal from the Florida Senate. They met today at the St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce.

The UF Health Jacksonville hospital is too important to lose. That’s the message state lawmakers representing Duval County are planning to send to Gov. Rick Scott and legislative leadership in a letter next week.

The Duval delegation resolved to write the letter at their meeting in Jacksonville Wednesday after hearing from the public, including hospital executives and a hospital association president.

Health care spending was the defining issue of the 2015 Florida legislative session. 

The Florida House and Senate were miles apart on the issue, and the disagreement sent the regular session to a screeching halt earlier this month.

On Monday, lawmakers will return to Tallahassee for a special session to try to pass a budget, but lawmakers appear no closer to an agreement on health spending, especially when it comes to an alternative to Medicaid expansion.

Florida Senate

  

Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government, but the proposal was immediately rejected by Gov. Rick Scott and House GOP leaders.

Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget.

Lawmakers Talk LIP In Districts

May 27, 2015

 

 MIAMI-DADE HEALTH FUNDING AT ISSUE

Florida Senate

Republican leaders in the Florida Senate offered up a revamped health care proposal Tuesday in an effort to end a budget stalemate that threatens to shut down state government.

GOP legislative leaders have been odds over health care coverage and the dispute derailed the end of the regular session. Legislators are scheduled to return to the state Capitol next week for a 20-day special session where they are expected to pass a new state budget.

Speaker: LIP Letter Will Help End Impasse

May 26, 2015
Mark Foley / Florida House of Representatives

A day after receiving word that Florida likely will receive about $1 billion next year for a key health-care program, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt Island, said Friday that the information could help end a state budget impasse.

Vikki Wachino, director of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, sent a letter to the state Thursday indicating Florida could expect to receive about $1 billion during the upcoming fiscal year for the Low Income Pool, or LIP, program.

Senate Sets Health Expansion Bill Schedule

May 26, 2015
The Florida Senate

The Senate will move quickly during a special legislative session next month to reiterate support for a controversial plan that would use federal Medicaid money to provide health insurance to about 800,000 Floridians.

Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, sent a memo Friday to senators that said the Senate Health Policy Committee will take up the coverage-expansion plan June 1, the first day of the special session. The following day, the plan will go the Appropriations Committee, and it will be approved by the full Senate on June 3.

WMFE

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s commission investigating hospital finances will meet for the first time today. The meetings come as Florida’s legislature preps for a special session.

Health care spending has been the big division in Florida’s budget thanks to a billion-dollar hospital fund that’s ending. Federal officials want Florida to expand Medicaid to cover Florida’s uninsured, and hospitals have been pushing for expansions.

Hospitals To Scott: Look Up Financial Data

May 20, 2015

As Gov. Rick Scott's newly created health care commission prepares to meet today to begin sifting through data about hospital funding, the governor's request for information has been met with hospitals essentially telling him to go look it up.
 

Many of the dozens of surveys returned by hospitals have five or fewer of the roughly 100 lines filled out with new information. Officials frequently referred Scott back to information filed with the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration, which oversees much of the state's spending on health care.

Florida Senate

Florida’s top legislative leaders on Friday made their June special session official and came up with a long list of items they want to try to tackle during their 20-day return to the state Capitol.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli and Senate President Andy Gardiner have agreed to pass a new state budget while at the same time debate legislation covering health care, Medicaid and even tax cuts and environmental policy.

The Florida Senate

Two top Florida legislators today spent hours meeting behind closed doors in a last-minute push to reach a deal on health care and a new state budget.

Although no deal was reached, Sen. Tom Lee, a Brandon Republican, said that a “fair amount of progress” was made during the discussions between the House and Senate budget chiefs at the Capitol.

“It was super productive,” said Rep. Richard Corcoran, a Land O’ Lakes Republican. “I think today we moved the ball down the field tremendously. We are moving to resolution.”

A former SunTrust CEO from Winter Park has been appointed to a committee to investigate hospitals. Tom Kuntz is one of nine members on a panel investigating hospital finances.

Associated Press

Just days after flying to Washington in hopes of convincing the Obama administration to extend federal hospital funds, Gov. Rick Scott was back in the nation's capital Tuesday slamming federal health officials for denying his request.

The administration wants the Florida governor to expand Medicaid to more than 800,000 Floridians, which it says is a more efficient use of federal funds than paying hospitals retroactively for caring for the uninsured.

Congressional Hearing Planned On LIP Showdown

May 13, 2015
Politico

A congressional committee will hold a hearing on Gov. Rick Scott's showdown with the federal government over health care funding, but that meeting could come too late to help close a potential $2.2 billion hole in the state budget.

Scott announced Tuesday that U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., will have the House Energy & Commerce Committee look into the governor's allegations that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is trying to illegally coerce the state into accepting Medicaid expansion.

Five years after the Affordable Care Act passed, the law's provision allowing the expansion of Medicaid coverage to more people is still causing huge fights in state legislatures.

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