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Florida close to medicaid extension, but still not there

By Lynn Hatter

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wfsu/local-wfsu-995497.mp3

Tallahassee, FL – The federal government has extended the state's five-county Medicaid pilot through the middle of December. The program was set to expire earlier in the year, but a series of extensions have kept it going until a final agreement with the state can be ironed out. Lynn Hatter reports the negotiations now hinge on how to spend a billion dollars of federal money that supports healthcare for low-income patients.

The Low-Income pool steers about a billion dollars to state hospitals as a reimbursement for treating low-income people. But the program was set to end six months early, which would have cost hospitals about 500-million dollars. The federal government has agreed to fully-fund the program, but there's a catch. Officials want the hospitals to come up with details on how and where that money will be spent.

The Low-Income Pool issues have to be resolved before the federal government will agree to extend the state's five-county Medicaid-managed care pilot program. And the extension must be in place, BEFORE the federal government will consider expanding Medicaid managed care statewide.