Gov. Rick Scott wants a Medicaid block grant.
That was the governor’s message in a gaggle with reporters on Tuesday to discuss his meeting with Sylvia Burwell, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on Wednesday. The governor said he hopes the federal government will reconsider its decision on Low Income Pool funding so the state can prepare a budget for the upcoming year.
Scott said the government should continue the program because it helps low-income people. When asked what he’d tell Burwell about the Senate’s FHIX plan or Medicaid expansion, Scott said, “It’s not going to happen. There’s no support in the House I’m not going to support it it’s not a program that’s worked”
Instead of pursuing the Senate plan, which would require federal approval because of its work requirements among other things, Scott said the Florida Legislature should be looking at making the Medicaid program a block grant. Block grants require Congressional approval except when they’re a so-called 1332 Innovation Waiver under the federal health care law often called Obamacare.
Alan Levine told Florida Politics before the session that the Legislature should start developing a health plan under Section 1332 and “perhaps they can buy time on the Low Income Pool.” Levine was then-Gov. Jeb Bush‘s health care point man and formerly a consultant for Republicans nationally.
The section 1332 waiver would allow the state to circumvent most Obamacare requirements and use the federal funding that would have been funneled to Florida under Obamacare — such as the premium tax credits to individuals who enroll through healthcare.gov and tax credits for small businesses — to fund the state created program.
Levine’s read of the section is that the state also would be authorized to use funding from Medicaid, federal Title XXI (the Children’s Health Insurance Program) and Low Income Pool to pay for the state program.
Levine called section 1332 of Obamacare “the red carpet Republican governors have been wanting.”
The waivers are available in 2017 but Levine said if the state starts working on a plan in earnest, “Perhaps hey can buy time on (Low Income Pool).”