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Payments for Poor Remain an Issue

State Democratic leaders say that Florida’s Legislature failure to pass major health laws this spring may trigger a drop in federal matching money for treating low-income residents in the hospital.

House Minority Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, said the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services right now is willing to extend temporary agreements related to the so-called Low Income Pool, the Florida Current reports.

However, Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, would have to be willing to let Florida use a portion of federal funds to commission a report looking at how the state can better help residents without health insurance, the Current reports.

Thurston says in his April 17 letter that delaying this action means Florida’s health care economy loses $7 million a day, the Current reports.

Last month, the legislature delayed by a year a 2011 plan to restructure the way it paid hospitals for treating indigent residents.  The complicated funding model involves a mix of local and state funds and federal matching dollars. 

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.