Governor Rick Scott says he’s disappointed the federal government won’t extend a billion-dollar program to reimburse hospitals that treat low-income Floridians. But the move by the feds to stop the program is not unexpected.
The Low-Income, or LIP pool, as it’s known for short, is worth about two-billion dollars when state matching funds are added. And it’s going away this year. The funding could be replaced if Florida expanded Medicaid, but so far that hasn’t happened. Speaking to WFSU in January, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell was clear about the impending decision.
“The pool money was about helping low-income people have access," Burwell said. "That’s what the pool money is about. We believe an important way to extend that coverage for those low-income individuals as passed in the Affordable Care Act is the Medicaid Expansion.”
The Senate is supportive of allowing more people into the state’s Medicaid program using federal funds, while the House is opposed. In a statement, Governor Rick Scott says, quote: “we cannot afford to fund federal programs that are started by the federal government. Florida taxpayers fund our federal government and deserve to see a return on their investment – and we want to see it continue to provide healthcare for those who need it.”