WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — US state of Florida Governor Rick Scott is suing the United States government for allegedly forcing the state to expand the social health care program Medicaid, according to media reports.
“Republican Gov. Rick Scott announced Thursday he will sue the federal government for allegedly coercing Florida to expand Medicaid,” The Miami Herald reported on Thursday.
Medicaid is a US social health care program for families and individuals with low income and limited resources.
When the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, took effect on March 30, 2010, it took a significant sum of money out of the federal Medicaid program in order to pay for the creation of Obamacare’s healthcare exchanges.
Obamacare also introduced mandates and subsidies, and requires insurance companies to cover all applications within the new minimum standards as well as offer the same rates to customers regardless of pre-existing conditions or sex.
The dispute centers on a $2.2 billion program, the Low Income Pool, which provides funding to Florida hospitals treating uninsured patients. The program is set to expire in June 2015, unless the United States and Florida governments come up with a successor program, local media said.
Scott said this action violates the US Supreme Court 2012 ruling that no US President can force the expansion of the federal government Medicaid program on US states.
“Not only does President Obama’s end to LIP [Low Income Pool] funding in Florida violate the law by crossing the line into a coercion tactic for Obamacare, it also threatens poor families’ access to the safety net healthcare services they need,” Scott was quoted as saying by local media.
On Tuesday, the US Department of Health and Human Services told Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration that any decision regarding LIP must be linked to whether the state uses federal money for the expansion of health care coverage.
Florida is the third largest state in the United States and numbers nearly 20 million residents.