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Budget deal tidbits

Looks like the major sticking points between House and Senate budget folks are being cleared up.

We hear the House has tentatively agreed to plug in $880m more Medicaid money, but it does so contingent on Congressional approval and sticks the money in savings. So, if the new federal money arrives, it will flow into health and human services and the money that’s there now will flow into savings. The Senate provisionally plugged the Medicaid money into its own budget, as did Gov. Charlie Crist.

On transportation, the House has “come way down” on its proposal to take about $500 million from the transportation trust fund, said Rich Glorioso, House transportation budget chief. Glorioso said he’s not sure how much of a cut the trust fund will face. Another lawmaker told us there was a “gentleman’s agreement” at one point to take about $150 million from the trust fund to balance the budget.

What’s left? Lots of stuff. Expect more money for Jackson Memorial Hospital to become a major issue. House budget chief David Rivera is running for Congress, and finding a way to fill the $230m JMH budget hole is a top priority in Miami-Dade. Jackson is one of the largest Medicaid providers in the nation.

“I think they should get the money,” Sen. Durell Peaden, health budget chief said. “But it shouldn’t just be Jackson. Shands in Jacksonville needs some help as well.

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