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Rick Scott goes to Washington to talk LIP (again) as hospitals prepare for austere year

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

As the rhetoric around Medicaid funding grows louder Florida hospitals, caught in a Medicaid financing war between the state and federal government, are beginning to brace for what a pared-back, austere budget might mean.

On Tuesday Scott met with members of the Florida Congressional Delegation to update them on Florida’s “battle” with the administration over Low Income Pool funding, according to a press release issued by Gov. Rick Scott‘s office. LIP are supplemental Medicaid dollars made possible by a Medicaid 1115 waiver that allows Florida to bend the traditional federal rules.

“Let there be no doubt, the Obama Administration’s end to the LIP program in states is the new battlefront in states’ fight against federal overreach,” the release quotes Scott as telling members of the Florida delegation.

“They want us to take on more of Obamacare. They want us to adopt their policy the way they want us to –- or else. This is the Sopranos.”

For its part the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent out a statement following Scott’s press release saying that the federal government is “continuing to engage with Florida on the state’s LIP proposal.”

His Tuesday meeting followed a Monday night appearance on Fox News where Scott said withholding approval of the Low Income Pool ruined his plans to cut taxes and to put increased funding in public education.

Meanwhile, in South Florida, two Broward County hospitals are bracing for what it means to have no LIP money, according to a story in the Miami Herald.

Nabil El Sanadi, an emergency medicine physician and chief executive of Broward Health, said at a meeting at the Broward Governmental Center, said his facility cold lose $92 million a year if the state and federal government can’t reach an accord on the continuation of the Low Income Pool.

According to the article El Sanadi said Broward Health is considering reducing expenses “for all the stuff that’s nice to have but is not life critical,” citing as examples post-operative rehabilitation programs, such as occupational therapy and nutritional education.

John Benz, a senior vice president for Memorial Health Care System, said the hospital system could lose $90 million to $100 million annually if the state cannot keep the LIP program at current levels. Benz predicted that access to health care would decrease if the state and federal government cannot reach an agreement.

Dee Schaeffer, executive director of Healthy Communities, an affiliate of Halifax Health in Daytona, said she made a presentation at an early morning “eggs and ideas” hosted by the Daytona Beach Chamber. She spoke with 60 or so business leaders in the area to discuss health care financing and Medicaid expansion and the continuation of the Low Income Pool. Schaeffer told Florida Politics that unlike hospitals in Broward County, Halifax Health is not identifying programs they would have to cut. Not yet. She said Halifax believes that CMS can provide the state with some informal information or LIP funding guidelines, before the start of the special session in June.

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