Medicaid charges could fuel floor fight in both House and Senate

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Counties are lobbying to try to kill a plan that could force them to pay tens of millions of dollars in disputed Medicaid charges.

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.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.