Thursday, May 04, 2017

Trump administration will defray cost of Florida refusing Medicaid expansion

Casey QuinlanF
Policy reporter at ThinkProgress.
May 1

The Trump administration’s deal with Florida has implications for the rest of the country.

A policy change by the Trump administration will effectively subsidize Florida’s decision not to expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, in a deal that could set a national precedent.

The federal government has made a deal with Florida to provide more money for state hospitals to treat uninsured people, which the previous administration would never have approved, according to The New York Times. The Obama administration argued that if Florida simply expanded Medicaid, fewer people would be uninsured, which means there would be less uncompensated care.

The “low-income pool”?—?meaning the pool of money set aside for uninsured, low-income people?—?will reportedly grow from $608 million per year under the Obama administration to $1.5 billion annually. Kansas, Tennessee, and Texas also have these low-income pools, and have also not expanded Medicaid.

Republican state lawmakers in Florida have fiercely opposed Medicaid expansion for the past four years, according to the Associated Press. Although the State House has proposed huge cuts to hospitals, at the time of the deal, Rep. Carlos Trujillo (R), the House budget chairman, said he would not promise the federal money would alleviate those cuts. Trujillo said the funds could allow lawmakers to focus on tax cuts or building up the state’s reserve accounts.

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