Florida: Governor Revokes Support for Medicaid Expansion

Governor Rick Scott (R), who unexpectedly announced his support for Medicaid expansion in 2013, publicly withdrew it this week amid negotiations between Florida and CMS over the continuation of the Low-Income Pool (LIP) program. Renewal of the LIP program, which reimburses hospitals for uncompensated care, has been increasingly linked to Medicaid expansion since CMS stated a few months ago that it would not renew funding for the LIP program “in its present form.” The secretary of the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration clarified that CMS has not made approval of the LIP program contingent on expansion of Medicaid. Governor Scott said his reversal was based on concern that the federal government could reduce or discontinue the enhanced federal funds for Medicaid expansion, as he feels it has done with the LIP program. CMS reiterated its commitment to provide enhanced federal funding for states’ Medicaid expansions as outlined in the ACA and to working with Florida to expand or develop an alternative solution to reduce hospital costs.

New Jersey: State Supreme Court Finds Elimination of Medicaid Benefits for Some Legal Immigrants Permissible

New Jersey’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of the State in a class action suit alleging that New Jersey's decision to eliminate Medicaid eligibility for legal immigrants who have been in the country for less than five years violated the Constitution. The Court upheld a lower appellate court ruling that New Jersey legally altered NJ Family Care's eligibility criteria in 2010, when it decided to no longer offer Medicaid benefits to some legal immigrants as the state faced massive budget shortfalls. Since 1996, federal law has granted states the right to eliminate such benefits for legal resident aliens, but the plaintiffs argued that this action was akin to discrimination against women or minorities, reports the New Jersey Law Journal.

Tennessee: Revival of Medicaid Expansion Plan Cut Short by Senate Committee

While Governor Bill Haslam’s (R) “Insure Tennessee” Medicaid expansion plan failed to gain approval from lawmakers last month, a modified version of the proposal was recently passed by the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and believed to have modest support. The plan’s revival, however, was short-lived, as it was defeated 6-2 in the Senate Commerce Committee less than one week later. Proposed amendments to the bill included a six month lockout provision for nonpayment of premiums, delaying implementation until after a decision in King v. Burwell, and a federally approved opt-out election for the State.