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House, Senate Heading Toward Budget Clash Over Health Funding

The potential loss of up to $2 billion worth of federal funding is bringing the state’s budgeting process to a standstill says Senate budget chief Tom Lee.

The loss of the low-income pool money means priorities like Governor Rick Scott’s $500 million tax cut package—are in trouble. And Lee says there could be other casualties as well.

“I think we can go ahead and proceed…but it’s going to be a very lean and mean  budget because if you allocate all these resources to the various priorities that exist amongst the executive branch and the legislature, there will be no money left if things fall apart with CMS," he said. "There will be no resources left to address the healthcare needs of the state’s most vulnerable.”

The House’s budget writers say they’re going forward and including the money in anticipation the LIP pool funding will remain. The state’s medicaid director told lawmakers Wednesday that the federal government has not expressed much interest in renewing the program.

Lee says the issue could force lawmakers into a special session.