Florida Gov. Rick Scott has assembled a commission to survey the economics of healthcare and hospitals in the state, and none of the appointees are hospital executives or lawmakers. The nine-person panel will make recommendations for a special legislative session called to pass a state budget.
The appointments to the Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding include one physician, and a mix of local business leaders.
Scott said he created the panel to help end a stalemate over whether the state should expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. The Obama administration has not yet ruled on the state's application to extend federal funding that subsidizes healthcare services for low-income residents, known as the low-income pool, beyond the June 30 expiration date.
HHS officials said last week that the state's application for extension falls short of key components that federal officials will consider when deciding on the program's future. In an effort to induce federal officials into an agreement to extend the program, the Florida Senate proposed a $2.8 billion initiative that would use Medicaid expansion funding to help low-income Floridians purchase private insurance.
Last week Scott sent the Florida Hospital Association and prominent state hospital officials a letter proposing that hospitals share a portion of their revenue to support care for low-income patients if HHS ends the $2.2 billion low-income pool program. Scott compared the framework to the way large-market Major League Baseball teams share revenue with small-market teams.
“We received the letter and will be issuing a response to Gov. Scott this week,” said Monica Corbett, director of communication for the Florida Hospital Association, in an e-mail. Corbett declined to comment on the lack of hospital representation on the commission.
Scott asked hospitals to deliver their own proposals no later than May 22, and the commission will meet on May 26 to review the suggestions.