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Medicaid bill fight could cost Florida counties

Florida counties stand to lose nearly $300 million in state revenue over the next few years, a punishment of sorts for what the state says are unpaid Medicaid bills.

But counties say much of what the state categorizes as delinquent bills are actually erroneous charges created by a faulty state billing system, and that the state's decision to collect is masking a ploy to shift additional costs to local governments.

Under the controversial proposal, the state would withhold revenue sharing dollars from counties equal to a portion of the delinquent bills as well as any future payments counties owe under the Medicaid program. Currently, counties are allowed to dispute the amounts they owe and pay what they think is fair.

Miami-Dade could lose an estimated $31 million in revenue sharing in the upcoming fiscal year with the new system and Pinellas could see an $8.6 million decrease, according to the Association of Counties.

"We have to go back and explain to our taxpayers a $7 million increase in costs for things we don't even believe are verifiable or justifiable," said Gretchen Harkins, Broward County director of intergovernmental affairs.

Read more here.