Tea party group asks Scott to veto Medicaid bill

By | 03.27.12 | 12:35 pm

Gov. Rick Scott (Pic via flgov.com)

The Tea Party Network is urging Gov. Rick Scott to veto a Medicaid bill (H.B. 5301) that would shift costs from the state’s Medicaid program to counties throughout Florida.

According to Sunshine State News, the Tea Party Network says the law “is clearly an unfunded mandate to the counties.” The right-wing organization has argued that the “state should either find the funding sources or reduce the service burden to the counties.”

Sunshine State News reports:

Scott Press Secretary Lane Wright said the governor is “still reviewing” the Medicaid legislation, and has not made a decision on the others.

Scott said last week that HB 5301 has some provisions that are important for improving the state’s Medicaid program, but it also has billing issues.

“Governor Scott wants to make sure that counties aren’t paying bills they don’t owe. Even if the decision is made to sign the bill, [he] has made assurances that the Agency for Health Care Administration will not certify a bill that’s due unless they’re certain that it is owed,” Wright said, adding that AHCA will work with counties to make sure counties “understand what they owe and what they don’t.”

“He understands that Medicaid is not just a large burden on the state budget but on county budgets, as well,” Wright said. “We’re looking for a fair solution on both sides.”

State officials have been resistant to paying for the increasing costs of the state’s Medicaid program as Florida’s economic troubles continue and more people require the service. While some policy groups explain that the costs are not as high as state officials are claiming, lawmakers have continued to cut services and funding for the program.

Last year, state lawmakers tried to impose a $10 premium on every Medicaid recipient, which the federal government eventually shot down. The state has also been awaiting for the feds approval of their plans to privatize most of the program.

This year, the state is attempting to shift some of the costs away from the state to local governments. State lawmakers also cut $4 million from Medicaid for family planning services and limited emergency room visits to six visits per year for recipients 21 or older and primary care visits to two visits per month for non-pregnant adults.

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