Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Danger on the Rocks for Florida Healthcare: Fat LIP Edition


Are you ready to pay more for healthcare? If I remember my basic economics lessons correctly, that is exactly what's about to happen. Currently Florida hospitals are receiving money to cover services they must perform under the emergency treatment mandates from something called a "Low Income Pool." But those funds are set to dry up come this June. In their place are federal monies to cover the expansion of Medicaid, monies Florida's governor and legislature refuse to take.

When hospitals don't get reimbursed, they will pass their costs on to the rest of us.
The chances of Florida using federal dollars to extend health insurance coverage to more than 800,000 Floridians just got more complicated. Governor Rick Scott says he’s not inclined to support more programs that the federal government could, “scale back or walk away from."

Florida and the federal government are currently in negotiations to renew a separate program that reimburses hospitals that treat low-income patients. The Low-Income pool program expires in June and the federal government has indicated it won’t be renewed at its current $2 billion price tag. That part of the discussion is clear.

 “They have been very clear” the federal government won’t renew LIP as it is now, because they told them [Florida] over a year ago, that it’s [LIP] is not going to continue," said Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson during a recent trip to Tallahassee.

The Florida senate has drawn up a new way to revamp the Low-Income pool funds regardless of how much the state gets. But that’s not enough to convince other Republicans to go along. The House isn’t including LIP funds in its budget proposals. Furthermore, the Low-Income Pool has gotten caught up in a separate debate over whether to draw down federal funding to insure up to 800,000 Floridians in what’s called the Medicaid coverage gap. Those people are largely working adults who make too much money for the state’s traditional Medicaid program, and not enough to qualify for federal subsidies to purchase insurance on their own.

But House Republicans remain opposed, led by their powerful Appropriations Chairman Richard Corcoran—who last week stated bluntly that the House would not accept the Senate’s plan to use the federal Medicaid money to steer people into privately-managed HMO plans run by a state-based insurance exchange.
After supporting Medicaid expansion while doing absolutely nothing to advance it, Governor Rick Scott has now come out against it. Big dif!
"We still have several weeks left for budget negotiations; however, given that the federal government said they would not fund the federal LIP program to the level it is funded today, it would be hard to understand how the state could take on even more federal programs that CMS could scale back or walk away from," Scott said.   
Governor Scott's logic is defective. He rejects using Medicaid expansion money to close the gap left by LIP because that Medicaid money might go away. Instead he's demanding that our healthcare system rely LIP money that is definitely going away. I've always thought the man was lacking in basic human compassion but this is worse than mean-spirited, it's outright incompetent and we will all pay the price.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

People are going to die because of this. People who fall between the top end of income unexpanded medicaid and the bottom end of income for the subsidies. No provision was made for them to get subsidies because the law didn't anticipate that medicaid wouldn't be expanded in every state.
So a lot of people won't be able to afford chemo, or insulin, or surgery they need. And they will die.

Godwhacker said...

The infuriating thing to me is this.

The state has no power to block the taxes that pay for the Medicaid expansion. The state only has the power to prevent needy citizens from receiving the benefits those taxes provide. This is the definition of paying for something and not receiving it. Yet the right wing cheers.

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