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FL Negotiates For LIP Money Amid Questions

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Agency for Health Care Administration

 Florida's Medicaid director met Tuesday with federal officials as the state tries to continue receiving $1 billion a year to help hospitals and other providers care for low-income and uninsured people. Justin Senior, a deputy secretary at the state Agency for Health Care Administration, traveled to Baltimore to meet with federal officials about what is known as the Low Income Pool, or "LIP," program.

That program, which is critical to many hospitals, is set to expire June 30. Democratic lawmakers, meanwhile, raised questions Tuesday about why Gov. Rick Scott included a continuation of the LIP program in a budget proposal he released last week.

"It just seems prudent to me that we wouldn't include it until we have it,'' Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, said during a meeting of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee.

But Liz Dudek, secretary of the Agency for Health Care Administration, said Scott hopes the state will successfully negotiate with the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to continue the LIP program. She said the federal government, which plays a key role in funding the program, could require changes such as more accountability measures.

BAY AREA HOUSE CANDIDATES LINE UP

Three incumbent lawmakers and one challenger have opened campaign accounts in recent days as they prepare to run in 2016 for House seats in the Tampa Bay area, according to the state Division of Elections website. Rep. Amanda Murphy, D-New Port Richey, opened an account to run in Pasco County's House District 36. Meanwhile, Rep. Daniel Raulerson, R-Plant City, opened an account to run in Hillsborough County's House District 58, and Rep. Shawn Harrison, R-Tampa, opened an account in Hillsborough's House District 63. Murphy and Raulerson have not drawn challengers for 2016, but Tampa Democrat Mike Reedy has opened an account in District 63. Also, St. Petersburg Republican Joshua Black has opened an account to challenge Rep. Dwight Dudley, D-St. Petersburg, in Pinellas County's House District 68.

FANT, PERRY, BILECA READY FOR 2016 RUNS

Republican House members Jay Fant, Keith Perry and Michael Bileca have opened campaign accounts to run for re-election in 2016, while a possible successor to term-limited Rep. Marlene O'Toole has emerged, according to the state Division of Elections website. Fant, R-Jacksonville, plans to seek another term in Duval County's House District 15, while Perry, R-Gainesville, signaled he will run again in House District 21, which includes Dixie, Gilchrist and part of Alachua County. Bileca, R-Miami, opened an account in Miami-Dade County's House District 115. Meanwhile, in Central Florida, Don Hahnfeldt, a Republican from The Villages, has become the first candidate to open an account in House District 33. O'Toole, R-Lady Lake, cannot seek another term in 2016 in the district, which includes Sumter and parts of Lake and Marion counties.