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Florida, Feds Reach 2-Year LIP Extension

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Florida Governor's Office

The Obama administration and the state have reached an agreement to continue funding the hospital Low-Income Pool for two more years but at a much lower cost.

Tuesday’s announcement says the state will receive $1 billion this year, which is about half the current amount, and $600 million for 2016-2017. The fight over the funds tore apart the legislative session and prompted Gov. Rick Scott to file a lawsuit against the federal government. That lawsuit appears to be intact.

The Obama administration and the state Senate wanted to expand Medicaid to roughly 800,000 Floridians instead of paying hospitals that care for the uninsured retroactively. But Scott and House Republicans are opposed to taking money tied to so-called Obamacare. Instead, the state will use $400 million from general revenue to funnel money to the hospitals by increasing Medicaid provider rates.

Scott’s lawsuit accuses the Obama administration of withholding the hospital funds because the state won’t expand Medicaid. In recent court documents, Scott showed no signs of withdrawing the lawsuit despite Tuesday’s announcement, noting the underlying disagreement between Florida and the Obama administration remains.