Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue the federal government for allegedly coercing Florida to expand Medicaid.
I've made it clear before I am not a fan of Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott. That said: MOTHERF-CKING SONOFAB-TCH.
On two points:
- Scott has already decided not to expand Medicaid coverage for Florida, much to the dismay of 800,000 residents and their families who could benefit and much to the dismay of health care providers like nursing homes and hospitals that could see improved revenues.
- Lawsuits can be complete wastes of taxpayers' money, considering that what Scott is suing over are changes to other Medicaid programs that haven't been decided yet by the legislature.
Back to that Times article:
The legal maneuver, which comes amid a tense standoff between the House and Senate over Medicaid expansion, was simultaneously lauded and lambasted. It also complicates negotiations over this year's budget.
The agency targeted by the lawsuit — the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS — is still deciding whether to renew a $2.2 billion program called the Low Income Pool that helps Florida hospitals treat low-income patients. And if no LIP dollars are awarded, Florida could be looking at a $1.3 billion budget gap.
The suit, which has yet to be filed, is only the latest round in an ongoing feud between Scott and CMS in connection with the LIP.
The program is scheduled to expire in June under an agreement between Florida and the federal government. Federal health officials have said they are open to negotiating a successor program, but no deal has been reached.
The negotiations took a turn Tuesday, when CMS told Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration that any decision regarding LIP would be tied to whether the state accepts federal Medicaid expansion money — a politically charged policy option Scott once supported, but now opposes.
Scott's contention is that the federal agency is trying to force Florida to accept the Medicaid expansion against the earlier SCOTUS ruling that said that was illegal. But what's really happening here is that Scott is making it harder for the state legislature to pass a deal on Medicaid and save its budget:
In Tallahassee, Scott's announcement Thursday exposed the deepening divide between the House, which opposes expansion, and the Senate, which supports expansion and has proposed a plan to extend the LIP program.
House Speaker Steve Crisafulli said Scott was making an important point: "You can't force the state to take on Medicaid expansion."
Senate Appropriations Chairman Tom Lee, R-Brandon, said he wasn't sure if the move was political posturing or if Scott had standing to bring the lawsuit.
"But if they think the federal government has stepped out of bounds, they've got an obligation to defend the state of Florida," he said.
If the legislature fails to pass a deal on LIP, we're seeing a situation where a lot of health care providers lose funding, families lose support... and sick people who could get (and stay) healthy suddenly facing death. One-point-three billion dollars is a lot of money to find for funding, and the state would either have to make drastic cuts in other social services that are ALREADY cut to the bone or else take a huge cut to health care. The alternative - raise taxes to generate state revenues to fill the gap - is unthinkable to Republicans controlling this gerrymandered politically-rigged state.
Rick "I'm Trying to Scam Companies In Other States to Move to Florida As It Turns Into a Dystopic Toxic Swamp" Scott is just doing this purely on partisan obstructionism.
To every Floridian who voted for this fraud, burn in hell.