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Gillum Says Medicaid Block Grants Will Hurt Local Governments

Nick Evans
/
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum says Gov. Rick Scott should be careful asking the federal government for Medicaid block grants. The gubernatorial candidate said the city helps support local hospitals and Leon County helps fund local public health services.

“I think our governor has to be real careful about agreeing to this sort of block grant system that is insufficient in funding the need," he said. "Especially in a state like Florida with such an aging population.”

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Credit Nick Evans
/
The Florida Channel

The federal government currently pays a percentage of all state Medicaid spending. Block grants would set federal money at a certain amount no matter how much is spent. Gillum said local hospitals would bear more of the cost of providing medical care to the poor and the uninsured.

“Ultimately somebody’s got to cover the cost," he said. "I mean, because my guess is that the resources that will come down from the federal government will be insufficient to cover what are growing expenses and growing costs.”

Scott has said block grants will give him flexibility to target the cost drivers of Florida’s Medicaid program. He said he’ll use innovation to drive down the state’s growing health care budget.

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Sarah Mueller is the first recipient of the WFSU Media Capitol Reporting Fellowship. She’ll be covering the 2017 Florida legislative session and recently earned her master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting at the University of Illinois Springfield. Sarah was part of the Illinois Statehouse press corps as an intern for NPR Illinois in 2016. When not working, she enjoys playing her yellow lab, watching documentaries and reading memoirs.