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Rick Scott’s office on health care funding: “we are continuing to watch the process”

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After making quick progress early on Saturday, legislative health care budget writers announced at 4 pm they wouldn’t meet again until Sunday.

House and Senate legislative leaders have agreed to pour $400 million in recurring general revenue into hospitals in an attempt to absorb the loss of $1 billion in supplemental Medicaid dollars known as Low Income Pool.

It’s a move that could put the Legislature at odds with Gov. Rick Scott who has said he doesn’t want to “backfill” the loss of federal dollars with state general revenue.

Scott’s spokesperson, Jackie Schutz, said the governor  is “continuing to watch the process,” when asked how Scott felt about the move.

Matt Hudson, chief of the House health care budget, said that legislative leaders agreed on the approach. The GR was allocated to “make sure we are keeping our system solvent and making sure we are being responsible to our hospitals as well. I think everybody is allowed to have different approaches. This is one our presiding officers agreed on.”

When pressed about Low Income Pool details Hudson said his committee would “take a deep dive look later today” on how to disperse the LIP funds among the hospitals.

The Senate and House also have agreed to cut graduate medical education. Both Hudson and his counterpart Sen. Rene Garcia said after the meeting that the issue is not “of the table.”

The $400 million is about $30 million less than what the hospitals wanted to offset the LIP reductions.

There have been no public discussions to date about so-called “rate relief” for Medicaid HMOs participating in the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care program. The HMOs sent a letter to AGency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek pressing for a rate increase but Dudek shot back telling the plans that the rates aren’t warranted.

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