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Sen. Alan Hays volunteers for hospital funding commission

HaysSen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, wants to serve on Gov. Rick Scott's Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding, he said Thursday.

That's assuming such a commission is created, of course.

Scott proposed the idea earlier this week in light of the gridlock over Medicaid expansion and the potential end of the Low Income Pool, a federal-state program that helps hospitals treat uninsured and Medicaid patients.

Scott, who became a millionaire buying and selling for-profit hospitals, said the commission would "examine the revenues of Florida hospitals, insurance and healthcare providers and how any taxpayer money contributes to the profits or losses of these institutions in Florida.

"A thoughtful analysis of how taxpayer money supports Florida hospitals, insurance and healthcare providers will guide us in a Special Session and aid in the development of the Fiscal Year 2016-17 budget," he said in a statement. "This analysis will also help us prepare for the loss of LIP funding if the federal government decides to decline our amendment request before October."

On Wednesday, Scott called senators into his office and showed them the data on profit margins for local hospitals.

Hays, who supports the Senate plan for expansion, raised his hand to serve on Scott's new commission Thursday.

"I met with Gov. Scott yesterday and told him that I fully support his idea to form a commission to better understand the use of our tax dollars in the health care industry," Hays said in a statement. "If a commission is convened, I wish to serve on it and believe this could be a helpful tool as we work to address the health care challenges facing our state."

Hays noted that the House and Senate have until June 30 to pass a budget.