The Buzz

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Scott approves controversial Medicaid billing law

29

March

UPDATE: Gov. Rick Scott office has formally announced that he has signed HB 5301, despite intense lobbying from counties and the Tea Party for a veto. He also took the unusual step of submitting a letter to the Secretary of State explaning his willingness to work with counties to address their concerns about the bill.

Download Scott HB 5301 letter

Florida Association of Counties President Doug Smith said the bill “represents the worst kind of body blow to taxpayers.”

“Rather than correcting Tallahassee’s error-ridden Medicaid billing system, H.B. 5301 codifies it and leaves local taxpayers with the bill,” said Smith, a Martin County commissioner, via email.

Smith's full statement is below the original post.

ORIGINAL POST: According to the Senate's web site, Gov. Rick Scott has signed HB 5301, which could force counties to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in increased Medicaid costs.

The law does much more than that, but it is the Medicaid billing issue that made it controversial and caused the Florida Association of Counties to team up with the Tea Party to lobby Scott for a veto. The bill would withhold revenue sharing dollars from counties to cover the costs of future Medicaid bills plus a $325.5 million backlog in unpaid bills.

The governor's office has not officially announced whether or not he has signed the bill.

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Florida Association of Counties President Doug Smith's full statement:

“To say that we’re disappointed would be an understatement.  This bill represents the worst kind of body blow to taxpayers.  Rather than correcting Tallahassee’s error-ridden Medicaid billing system, H.B. 5301 codifies it and leaves local taxpayers with the bill.

While we appreciate the Governor’s commitment to certify accurate billings, the bottom line is that H.B 5301 makes those errors the law of the land, leaving taxpayers on the hook for Tallahassee’s multi-million dollar accounting mess.  This bill represents the very worst in bureaucratic inefficiency and serves as a splendid example of what taxpayers resent about government.

Local taxpayers shouldn’t pay for Tallahassee’s accounting errors—and to ensure that they do not, we are considering all of our options.  In the coming weeks, we will consult with our members to determine the best course of action for Florida’s communities and taxpayers.”

The Florida Association of Counties advocates for our state’s 67 counties.  We believe that government closest to the people tends to government best.

[Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 6:39pm]

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