Fla. lawmakers back off on DSH redistribution plan

Florida lawmakers have momentarily retreated from a new formula for dispensing funds to safety net hospitals that many providers said would have been disastrous, the Miami Herald reported.

The law would have required counties that receive federal matching funds to share those funds with counties that do not. The change in the sharing formula would have cost the Jackson Health System in Miami as much as $140 million a year. Under the formula, as much as $218 million in Medicaid funds would shift out of Dade County, the state's most populous.

Lawmakers delayed implementation of the law by one year, according to the Herald. "We would have been more excited about a repeal," Jackson Health Chief Executive Officer Carlos Migoya told the newspaper. "But the delay will help."

The delay will allow the state's planned privatization of the Medicaid program to take effect and then lawmakers can assess its overall impact on the finances of safety net providers.

"We don't know what happens next year so the best thing to do is maintain the status quo," State Sen. Denise Grimsley (R), who chairs the Senate Health Budget Committee, told the Herald. "When we come back in session next year, we will then have a better idea of what direction we need to go."

Another factor in the decision to delay the implementation of the law was the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' rejection of a request to expand the state's Low Income Pool insurance program. The state asked for $4.5 billion in funding, more than quadruple the current $1 billion a year it receives, the Tampa Bay Times reported.

Florida has no plans to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, despite an attempt to do so by Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

To learn more:
- read the Miami Herald article
- read the Tampa Bay Times article