The Senate, at least, looks like it will stay in session until May 1.
President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, confirmed Tuesday that the chamber wouldn’t recess early.
Times/Herald Tallahassee reporter Kat McGrory reports:
He also released the following statement, suggesting the chamber would continue working toward a final budget but saying it wouldn’t happen by the May 1 scheduled end of session.
Yesterday, AHCA formally began the process of submitting the Senate Plan for Medicaid Sustainability to CMS. This plan is now the vehicle for any LIP funding the state may be able to include in our budget for the coming year.
Florida’s recent history of applying for such waivers documents a pattern of lengthy consideration by CMS. For example, the LIP model used for the current fiscal year was formally submitted in November of 2013. We did not receive provisional approval until last April, and final approval came in July.
Therefore, despite the best efforts of the Senate to develop a Florida-based solution, at this time, there is no scenario under which we can complete a budget process that is open and transparent by May 1st.
We can however, continue to work toward a final budget that ensures funding for services to the uninsured in the absence of LIP. The Senate budget left significant unallocated revenue beyond that of our traditional reserves. Without a clear timetable for an answer from CMS on LIP, we may need to use this unallocated general revenue to draw down federal funding to help mitigate the loss of LIP and ensure our hospitals can continue to serve their communities.
Specifically, without LIP, our state may need to dedicate an upwards of $600 million to maintain services for the uninsured in our hospitals. This state investment will draw down federal matching funds that offset $1.5 billion in net hospital losses.
Neither FHIX nor LIP alone can address the health care challenges facing our state. Together, FHIX and the new LIP model proposed by the Senate could reduce the need for general revenue backfill as more of Florida’s uninsured gain coverage over the next few years. CMS has already indicated support for this type of ‘glide path’ approach.
We must also address the fact that pharmacy costs within our statewide manage care plans are exceeding predicted levels, resulting in a potential liability of $200 million. This, along with other health care issues, will continue to impact all other areas of our budget.
I hope Governor Scott and the Florida House will adopt our comprehensive solution, including FHIX and LIP, as Florida’s plan to address the health care challenges facing our state. If we can present a united approach, I am hopeful we can receive LIP funding this year and dedicate the $600 million we may need to backfill LIP to other priorities.