How the Legislature could use $1.5 billion in extra Medicaid money for something other than hospitals
There's $1.5 billion on the table that could shore up the state budget, but the question in Tallahassee is this: How will the Legislature be allowed to use it?
Both the House and Senate appear ready to use the Low Income Pool approved by the Trump administration last week to offset cuts to hospitals and free up money for other priorities.
"It’ll free up money from general revenue that then can be used to put into reserves to shore up out years or to pay for some of the projects that members have a unique interest," said House Appropriations Chairman Carlos Trujillo, R-Miami. "Whether it’s Lake Okeechobee in the Senate or on the House side, a lot of the K-12 priorities, Schools of Hope and Best and Brightest."
After other House leaders indicated earlier this week that taking LIP money wasn't a sure thing, Trujillo's comments Wednesday and Thursday echo remarks made last week by Sen. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, who heads the Senate's health care budget subcommittee. She said the federal government's last-minute agreement to reinstate the LIP -- which technically reimburses hospitals that care for the uninsured -- gives the Legislature more flexibilitty.