House and Senate budget negotiators agreed to the plan Wednesday night. It would force counties to pay back years of disputed Medicaid bills unless an administrative law judge determines that the bills are not warranted.
The proposal will go to the House and Senate floors Friday in what is known as a budget “conforming” bill (HB 5301).
Counties contend that Medicaid charges from the state often are inaccurate and that the plan would increase their costs by as much as $70.5 million during the 2012-13 fiscal year. But Senate Budget Chairman JD Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said Wednesday that counties should have been paying the money all along.
Cragin Mosteller, a spokeswoman for the Florida Association of Counties, said opponents are lobbying to try to defeat the proposal. “We’re talking to House and Senate members, and we hope they will vote against this very bad piece of legislation that increases bureaucracy,” Mosteller said.