Florida Suing Feds for Withholding Funding

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UPDATE 10:30 p.m.
By: James Buechele

An FSU law professor says he would be surprised if the lawsuit filed by Gov. Scott wrapped up before the special session begins in Tallahassee.

"It would be unprecedented for a case like this to move that quickly through the courts," said Marshall Kapp.

He says there's a better chance of a state budget passing with cuts to other agencies than with the LIP issue solved.

By: James Buechele
May 7, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- The state of Florida is suing the federal government. It all has to do with Medicaid expansion and funding for the low income pool program, also known as LIP.

The document was filed in U.S. district court today. In it, Governor Rick Scott and Attorney General Pam Bondi say the federal government is using unconstitutional tactics to force the state to expand Medicaid.

This is the heart of why there is no budget yet in the Florida legislature.

At issue is the LIP program funding. Governor Scott says the federal government is withholding more than $1 billion for that program.

In the lawsuit, Bondi and Scott say the federal government cannot threaten to withhold preexisting medicaid funding to force states to expand Medicaid.

The special session for the state legislature is less than one month away and a lot is riding on this lawsuit. Depending on the outcome, lawmakers will know how they can balance the budget.

By: Associated Press
May 7, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Florida is asking a judge to order the Obama administration to keep giving the state millions for its hospitals.

The state on Thursday asked a judge to impose an injunction on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, alleging the state is illegally being forced to expand Medicaid in order to get low-income pool hospital funds. Governors in Texas and Kansas are also supporting Florida's litigation.

According to the filing, the state says they've addressed all the other requirements standing in the way of extending the funds other than Medicaid expansion.

The funds are scheduled to end on June 30.

The Obama administration has repeatedly said it won't use the hospital funds to cover people who could get insurance through Medicaid expansion, saying it's more effective to insure people than to pay hospitals for caring for the uninsured retroactively.

By: Associated Press
May 7, 2015

MIAMI (AP) -- The Obama administration has rebuffed Florida's Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to extend special federal funds for hospitals that treat the uninsured.

That puts more pressure on states that have refused to expand coverage for low-income people under the president's health care law.

The standoff has implications for eight other states, including Texas, which draw billions of dollars from the same pool of hospital funds. And like Florida, several are refusing to expand Medicaid coverage. Republican leaders in those states are adamant about not expecting any federal money tied to Obama's Affordable Care Act.

The federal government says it's more efficient to give people insurance through Medicaid expansion than to pay hospitals for caring for the uninsured retroactively.

Florida's funding is the first of the states to expire on June 30.

See the attached amicus filing titled "Governors Amicus" from Texas and Kansas supporting Governor Scott’s lawsuit against the Obama administration.

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