Marco Rubio, Rick Scott want details on how Build Back Better impacts non-Medicaid expansion states
Image via AP.

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'The Build Back Socialist bill is going to hurt Florida hospitals, especially those that treat low-income residents and the uninsured.'

Florida’s two Republican senators are among a group that wants more answers about how a provision contained in the Build Back Better Act will affect hospitals in their states.

The U.S. House narrowly passed the nearly $2 billion social spending and climate change bill on Friday almost entirely along party lines, as even some previously skeptical Florida Democrats, such as U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, voted for the bill.

U.S. Sens. Marco Rubio and Rick Scott  have signed onto a letter with senators from Tennessee and Texas asking the Congressional Budget Office to provide an analysis of how a portion of the bill could impact Medicaid funding in states that have not expanded eligibility under the Affordable Care Act.

The legislation would alter two types of existing supplemental Medicaid funding streams to hospitals in Florida: the Disproportionate Share Hospital and the Low Income Pool programs. Scott had previously estimated Florida would lose $31 million through cuts to the DSH program, which provides additional Medicaid funds to hospitals that treat a disproportionate share of Medicaid patients in the state. Scott could not provide an estimate of losses in LIP dollars, which are made possible under Florida’s Medicaid managed care program.

The letter, put together by Tennessee Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn, calls on the CBO director to tell her and other senators what kind of impact it would have on state budgets and how it would affect access to care in rural hospitals, safety net hospitals and those that serve children.

Rubio sharply criticized the legislation for including potential cuts to hospitals while also increasing the amount of state and local taxes that can be deducted, a move that is believed by some to assist New York, among other states.

“The Build Back Socialist bill is going to hurt Florida hospitals, especially those that treat low-income residents and the uninsured,” Rubio said in a statement. “It is reckless and irresponsible to cut the health care of some of our most vulnerable, including children, to pay for tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers in New York and California.”

Scott also criticized the decision to raise the cap on what are known as SALT deductions — the amount of state and local taxes individuals can deduct from their federal tax liability — and said the bill “harshly punishes charity hospitals that provide care to those most in need.”

“That’s unacceptable,” Scott said in a statement. “The American people and every member of Congress deserve to know the truth: this bill is horrible for American families and must be stopped.”

Florida Democrats have touted the Build Back Better Act as a once-in-a-generation moment because of the spending, including money for universal Pre-K, proposals to lower the cost of prescription drugs and extending the child tax credit. It’s unclear, however, what may happen to the bill in the Senate as key Democrats remain skeptical about some of its provisions.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


10 comments

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  • tom palmer

    November 23, 2021 at 9:12 am

    Would have been great to hear from the other side on this issue. More reporting, less stenography.

    Reply

  • Charles J

    November 23, 2021 at 9:47 am

    So Rick Scott, who as governor refused federal funds to insure poor people under the ACA is now concerned how this new legislation will affect the healthcare of poor people. Interesting.

    Reply

    • Jack Brandz

      November 24, 2021 at 1:49 am

      So Joe Biden, who as president promised to serve all the people, not just those in blue states…. in a snub to those who stood against further federal control over their economies last decade, punishes them and rewards blue ones for playing ball. A state like NY has a much higher per-capita income than florida, texas or tennessee, yet this bill is redistributing wealth from red to blue. Interesting.

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  • Nick Whitehead

    November 23, 2021 at 10:20 pm

    Who is this nut case and why are you giving her a platform? Can you please find reporters without such obvious biases and who can just stick to facts? It is nice to see Sen Scott is today so concerned about funding for Medicaid. Perhaps he and his former company, HCA, should return the estimated $75 billion they stole from Medicaid and Medicare. These guys are so full of it they might pop, stand clear.

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  • Nick Whitehead

    November 23, 2021 at 10:24 pm

    Who is this nutcase and why are you giving her a platform? Can you please find reporters without such obvious biases and who can just stick to facts? Also, one who gets the facts correct. The Build Back Better Bill, while nearly revenue neutral, will pump nearly $2 trillion through the US economy, not $2 billion as the article states. It is nice to see Sen Scott is today so concerned about funding for Medicaid. Perhaps he and his former company, HCA, should return the estimated $75 billion they stole from Medicaid and Medicare. These guys are so full of it they might pop, stand clear.

    Reply

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