The Senate budget will include nearly $3 billion in Medicaid dollars to expand coverage to roughly 800,000 people as well as an alternative plan to draw down supplemental Medicaid dollars to help pay hospitals and other providers for treating uninsured patients.
That means the Senate and House budgets could be billions apart – a fact that could drag out the negotiations that usually occur between the two chambers.
Sen Tom Lee said it would be “untenable” for the Senate to pass a budget that did not attempt to restore the more than $1 billion in federal aid that is flowing to hospitals for the current Low Income Pool program. The federal government has already told Florida it will not extend the current program beyond this summer.
Lee made clear that the funding streams are “different pots of money” to cover unreimbursed care but that both are relevant. “We intend to have them both in play,” Lee said.