Florida Gov. Scott sues Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion over Med­i­caid dis­pute

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Vir­gil Dick­son

Florida Gov. Rick Scott fol­lowed through last week on his threat to file a law­suit al­leg­ing HHS is il­le­gally try­ing to co­erce the state into ex­pand­ing Med­i­caid el­i­gi­bil­ity by threat­en­ing to end fund­ing for hos­pi­tals that care for low-in­come pa­tients.

As part of a fed­eral Med­i­caid waiver, Florida has re­ceived be­tween $1 bil­lion and $2 bil­lion an­nu­ally since 2005 in low-in­come pool fund­ing. That waiver is set to ex­pire in June. In April, the CMS in­formed the state that, “The fu­ture of the (low-in­come pool), suf­fi­cient provider rates and Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion are linked.” The Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion has de­liv­ered a sim­i­lar mes­sage to other states that re­ceive low-in­come fund­ing un­der Med­i­caid waivers and have de­clined to ex­pand Med­i­caid el­i­gi­bil­ity un­der the Af­ford­able Care Act. Florida’s House and Se­nate re­main split over Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion.

Scott and Florida At­tor­ney Gen­eral Pam Bondi have asked Paul Cle­ment, the at­tor­ney who suc­cess­fully ar­gued that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion could not co­erce states into Med­i­caid ex­pan­sion in NFIB v. Se­be­lius in 2012, to rep­re­sent Florida in the case.

“Pres­i­dent Obama’s sud­den end to the Low In­come Pool health­care pro­gram to lever­age us for Oba­macare is il­le­gal and a bla­tant over­reach of ex­ec­u­tive power,” Scott said in a state­ment. “This sort of co­er­cion tac­tic has al­ready been called il­le­gal by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

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