Florida Gov. Scott Sues Obama Administration Claiming Coercion on Medicaid Expansion

Florida’s Gov. Scott took the Obama administration to federal court on April 28, claiming that they are attempting to force the state to expand Medicaid by threatening to withdraw other federal health funds.

Here is the first statement in the complaint filed by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi:

“This case concerns an attempt by the federal government to do precisely what the Supreme Court held just three years ago that the Constitution prohibits it from doing – namely coerce States into dramatically expanding their Medicaid programs by threatening to cut off federal funding for unrelated programs unless they “agree” to do so.

The argument is over $1.3 billion funding in the Low Income Pool, a federal health program separate from Medicaid used to reimburse hospitals for the cost of treating uninsured patients.

Bloomberg News reports the Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson, Aaron Albright, says the pool funds were temporary and scheduled to expire in June.

“The decision to expand Medicaid, or not, is a state decision,” Albright said in an e-mailed statement according to Bloomberg News. “We will work with Florida and each state that has an uncompensated care pool regardless of its Medicaid expansion status, to support access to health care for low-income residents that works for individuals, hospitals and taxpayers.”

For more information:

  • Gov. Scott’s Press Release, April 28, 2015
  • Florida A.G. Pam Bondi’s Press Release, April 28, 2015
  • Text of the Complaint, filed April 28, 2015, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division