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FL Medicaid Takes $1B Plea to Feds

Three high-level Florida officials flew to Baltimore on Tuesday for a meeting with federal regulators to discuss a $1 billion hole in the Florida Medicaid budget, according to Political Fix Florida. They can’t plug the $1 billion into the budget until they get word from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The money in question is the “Low Income Pool,” or LIP, which in the past has been given to hospitals that treat a great many uninsured patients.  The waiver that allowed up to  $1 billion LIP funding in the past will expire June 30.

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, which operates the Medicaid  program, requested the cap  be raised to $4.5 billion,  but CMS seemed reluctant.  With time running out in the Legislature to write the 2014-15 budget, due the end of April, AHCA officials asked CMS simply to  extend the $1 billion cap on LIP as in the past.. But still no answer.

Thus the trip to Baltimore, where  CMS is based.  The three  who went, according to AHCA spokeswoman Shelisha Coleman, were Geoffrey Becker, deputy chief of staff  for Gov. Rick Scott; Justin Senior, deputy secretary for Medicaid; and Tom Wallace, bureau chief for Medicaid finance.

The federal officials with whom they met were Director of Medicaid Cindy Mann, as well as deputy director Penny Thompson; Eliot Fishman, director of Children and Adults Health Programs Group; and Kristin Fan, deputy director, financial management group.

Health News Florida asked for details of the outcome; AHCA says they will be provided soon.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.