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Pennisi: LIP penny vs. Medicaid dollars (Herald-Tribune)

The Herald-Tribune published the following opinion piece by Joseph F. Pennisi, executive director of the Florida Policy Institute:

“There’s good news and bad news for Florida in the federal government’s recent decision to approve more dollars for Florida’s uncompensated care pool, known as the Low Income Pool or LIP.

Gov. Rick Scott is to be commended for utilizing his relationship with the administration in Washington to bring this funding to Florida.

But while the additional dollars for the pool will help, they do nothing to move the needle on Florida’s access to health coverage. In other words, LIP dollars won’t insure a single Floridian.

There are 2.6 million Floridians, or 13.3 percent of the state’s residents, who do not have health insurance, and Florida ranks a disappointing 45th in the nation for its rate of residents with coverage. The uninsured have less access to medical care, poorer quality of care, worse health and an increased risk of premature death.

There is no question that increased LIP funding is a welcome relief for hospitals and other health care providers, who shoulder the burden of more Medicaid cuts and billions in unpaid medical debt.

But all of this ignores the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Florida’s failure to tap into a much bigger pot of federal Medicaid dollars to insure more than 500,000 low-income state residents.”

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