Florida’s top Medicaid official said on Tuesday he wants to have a tentative agreement with the federal government on how much Florida can expect to receive in supplemental Medicaid dollars by early to mid April.
Deputy Secretary for Medicaid Justin Senior told Florida Politics that the plan is to have a letter of agreement outlining broad principles — such as the amount of supplemental funding and how long the funding will be in effect for — so the House and Senate can use that figure to build their budgets.
Senior said the state is requesting “about” the same amount in supplemental payments available to the state under Low Income Pool — or about $2 billion — and would request that the supplemental payments be in effect for an additional two years, which is when the waiver that makes the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program and the supplemental Medicaid pool feasible expires.
“We’ve talked with them about that and they are aware of it at the federal level,” Senior said, adding that the goal would be to have the agreement reached between the state and the federal government by no later than April 12.
“That’s about as late as we can take it here,” he said, adding that the budget takes time to put together, negotiate and pass. “We can’t really push it much past that.”
Senior said it was the same tactic the state used last year when negotiating the Low Income Pool with the federal government. The federal government gave the state broad approval in April, advising Florida that the LIP would be $2.2 billion and be in effect until June 30. The terms and conditions were subsequently negotiated through early July.
Senior will be in Baltimore at a conference next week and plans to see Eliot Fishman there. Fishman delivered the keynote speech at the 2015 Florida Health Care Summit hosted by the Foundation of Associated Industries of Florida. It was at the summit that Fishman — director, Children and Adults Health Programs Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — said the federal government would not extend LIP beyond June 30.
Meanwhile, the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee released a budget on Tuesday with no supplemental dollars. Committee chairman state Rep. Matt Hudson said it would be “premature” to include Medicaid supplemental dollars in the budget without having any federal approval.