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As LIP Funding Fades, Scott Drops Lawsuit And Claims Victory

Governor Rick Scott speaks with reporters following a meeting with HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell in Washington, D.C.
Tampa Bay Tines

Governor Rick Scott is dropping his lawsuit against the federal government over funding for hospitals that treat uninsured patients. Scott says it was through his lawsuit the federal government agreed to extend the Low Income Pool—even though the feds are phasing out the program.

A Congressional committee took up Scott’s grievance with the feds over the issue recently,  but as Georgetown University Medicaid expert Joan Alker explains, the hearing may not have gone the way the Governor wanted.

“There was certainly some discussion of Florida and how Florida has been treated by the administration," Alker said. "But it was interesting to me that even House Republicans here in Washington didn’t want to hit that issue head-on. They chose to have a broader discussion about the role of Medicaid waivers and the role of transparency and oversight, which frankly, I agree with.”

This year, the formerly $2 billion program has been cut in half, and next year it goes down even more until the funding is ended. Supporters say the loss could be made up if the state expanded Medicaid to more low-income Floridians under the Affordable Care Act, but the Governor and Florida House oppose expansion.

In a statement announcing he is dropping the lawsuit, Scott said, "Florida saw a tremendous win for low income families this week when the Obama Administration finally agreed to continue funding part of Florida’s Low Income Pool program even though our state did not expand Obamacare.  Because of this great victory, we have decided to dismiss our lawsuit against the Obama Administration for attempting to coerce Florida into expanding Obamacare. It is unfortunate it took a lawsuit to make the right thing happen. I want to thank Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi for her hard work on this case.”