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Medicaid Expansion Plans Dying As Attention Shifts To Hospital Funding

House Speaker Steve Crisfaulli says the Senate’s Medicaid Expansion plan has too many problems, and probably won’t pass his chamber. Instead, he wants to focus on a shortfall in a critical hospital funding program.Crisafulli’s comments come as the legislature reconvenes to address a new budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

House Democratic Leader Mark Pafford says Medicaid expansion may not happen this year. The Senate’s proposal uses Medicaid expansion dollars from the Affordable Care Act to help uninsured Floridians purchase private health plans. That’s something Democrats, like Pafford, healthcare groups and even some business organizations have pushed for, but Pafford says it could be a no-go.

“I want to be hopeful, but you’re not seeing that. Optics sometime reveal a lot. I don’t see the house posturing as if they’re going to take the time to come up with a compromise," he said.

House Speaker Steve Crisafulli remains opposed to the Senate’s expansion plan. But The House Speaker is willing to negotiate on a separate issue: how to fill a billion-dollar budget hole in a critical program reimbursing hospitals for uncompensated care:

“I’m trying to work with the Senate to find compromise to figure out where we can land on this thing," Crisafulli said.

The federal government is phasing out the low income pool and some hospitals say they could close if nothing is done to make up the loss. Governor Rick Scott wants to cut LIP funding for some public hospitals and steer more of it to for-profits. Senate President Andy Gardiner says the Senate wants to keep the hospitals whole.

“It’s pretty obvious you’re going to have to come up with a number that you can run through the LIP model to make sure hospitals aren’t negatively impacted.”

The legislature has reconvened to iron out a budget before the start of the July 1 fiscal year.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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