Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hospitals could lose $500M in federal funds

MIAMI — Hospitals nationwide could lose half a billion dollars in federal funding for uninsured patients next year under the national health overhaul — a loss that will hit especially hard in states like Florida that decided against expanding Medicaid coverage.

Hospitals that treat a large number of uninsured residents have relied on federal funding in the past to offset the cost. But the Affordable Care Act assumes that more residents will have Medicaid or private health insurance, meaning hospitals would see fewer uninsured patients and need less assistance.

But hospitals in states that declined to expand Medicaid stand to lose the federal funding without a corresponding increase of Medicaid-covered patients to offset it. The decision not to expand means potentially millions of residents in those states who would have been eligible for the expanded Medicaid coverage will continue going to the emergency room when they are sick — and hospitals will be stuck with the bill.

Florida hospitals could stand to lose more than $10 million, according to rough estimates from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"You have continuing high levels of uncompensated care but the funding you had designated to address it is shrinking so the amount of unmet costs will grow," said Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association.

Health experts are divided in their opinions of what will happen next.

Judy Solomon, vice president of health policy for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a liberal think tank, said the new regulations could mean that states that don't expand Medicaid will get a break and face smaller cuts compared to states that are expanding Medicaid.

But Rueben said he doesn't think the feds will take pity on states that choose not to take them up on their generous offer to pay for Medicaid expansion. Under the federal health law, the federal government is offering to pay 100 percent of the coverage for newly eligible Medicaid recipients for the first three years and at least 90 percent after that.

"For those states that willfully deny their own citizens coverage when it was so substantially paid for … (the feds) will not protect those states from their own bad decision," he said. "How does that make good policy sense?

Hospitals could lose $500M in federal funds 05/13/13 [Last modified: Monday, May 13, 2013 11:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. PolitiFact: Fact-checking Samantha Bee on Florida felonies

    State Roundup

    Comedian Samantha Bee traveled to Florida, where she says "retirees and democracy go to die," to shed light on how the state makes it difficult for felons to regain the right to vote.

    Samantha Bee hosts Full Frontal with Samantha Bee on TBS. Bee portrayed some of Florida’s felonies as not so serious on her show.
  2. For some, Memorial Day comes around more than just once a year

    Military

    ST. PETERSBURG — It is shortly before nine on a Friday morning, and the heat is already approaching unbearable levels at Bay Pines National Cemetery.

    Iles carefully digs up the St. Augustine grass so that it will continue to grow when it is placed back on the gravesite. He tries not to disturb the root base.
  3. State budget uncertainty has school districts 'very concerned'

    K12

    While waiting for Gov. Rick Scott to approve or veto the Legislature's education budget, the people in charge of school district checkbooks are trying hard to find a bottom line.

    It has not been easy.

    The unsettled nature of Florida’s education budget has left school districts with questions about how they will make ends meet next year. [iStockphoto.com]
  4. Ernest Hooper: Removing Confederate symbols doesn't eliminate persistent mindset

    Human Interest

    The debate has begun about removing a Confederate statue from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, and its removal is long overdue.

    Robert E. Lee Elementary, 305 E. Columbus Drive in Tampa, originally opened its doors in the early 1910s as the Michigan Avenue Grammar School. [Times file]
  5. What you need to know for Monday, May 29

    News

    Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.

    In the weeks before Memorial Day, cemetery caretaker Gary Iles and the staff at Bay Pines National Cemetery are busy preparing the sprawling property for the annual ceremony honoring the fallen. Iles, an Army veteran who started out as a volunteer at Bay Pines, says working at the cemetery is a way for him to continue serving those who died for their country. [LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times]