The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida House approves compromise on Medicaid panel

22

April

A solution to one of the legislative session's big food fights cleared the House floor Wednesday, when representatives voted 117-0 to restructure the Low-Income Pool Council (a.k.a. the LIP Council) - the group that recommends how Medicaid money is distributed.

The compromise by Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, would make the following changes:

- Lobbyist would be banned from sitting on the council unless the person is a full-time employee of a public entity.

- Six new voting members would be added to the council: two would be appointed by the House speaker, two would be appointed by the Senate president, one would be a representative from the Department of Health and one would be a representative of a federally qualified health center.

- The Agency for Health Care Administration would select a nonvoting chairperson.

A similar proposal by Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, is ready for debate on the Senate floor.

Currently, the 17-member council includes representatives from private, public and teaching hospitals.

Floridians for Government Accountability, funded by the Hospital Corporation of America, spent most of session funding mailings and TV ads pushing for the elimination of the LIP Council. And dozens of lobbyists were hired to lobby on the bill.

HCA was also one of the top donors to lawmakers in the first quarter of 2009, funneling $278,000 into campaign coffers since Jan. 1. Overall, the health care industry gave $1.1 million in the first three months of the year.

Read more about that here.

Breanne Gilpatrick, Times/Herald Tallahassee bureau

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[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 6:55pm]

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