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Trump Administration Approves Florida Medicaid Waiver; More States To Come?

Abbott Reveals Burns

This month, the Trump Administration approved Florida’s Medicaid waiver. The approval comes after CMS sent $1 billion to Florida for its low-income pool in April. According to Modern Healthcare:

“The CMS has approved Florida’s Medicaid waiver that allows the state to keep most of its Medicaid populations on managed-care contracts and continues a controversial fund that helps hospitals pay for uncompensated care. The waiver, which was renewed Thursday is largely a continuation of the state’s prior waiver that was approved in 2014.”

The approval marks a sharp departure from the Obama Administration’s relationship with the state. Under the previous leadership, CMS threatened Florida and other non-expansion states. Florida eventually sued the administration over low-income pool funding.

Now, a number of other states including Arizona, Tennessee, and Texas, which faced similar problems under Obama, hope to see their fortunes reversed under Trump.

“Arizona and Texas officials hope the Trump administration will be more receptive to Medicaid waivers that would fund care for the uninsured, impose work requirements and place a life cap on enrollment. Texas state officials want a 21-month extension waiver that will help cover the unpaid bills of Medicaid-eligible and uninsured patients in the state.”

Texas’ waiver was approved under then-Gov. Rick Perry, now Trump’s Secretary of Energy. After a series of short-term extensions, the waiver is set to expire at the end of the year. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, as well as the other states’ governors, will be looking to secure a deal similar to the one Gov. Rick Scott obtained for Florida. Reversing the Obama administration’s efforts to punish non-expansion states by holding their waivers hostage is a significant accomplishment for Republican governors.

“The approval of the Florida Medicaid waiver signals an effort by the Trump Administration to work with state Governor’s instead of Washington bureaucrats on funding the uninsured,” said Mark Miner, Senior Vice President with McGuireWoods Consulting in Austin and former Senior Advisor to Governor Perry. “Approving a similar waiver in Texas would be a victory for Governor Abbott and demonstrate a commitment by the Trump Administration to dismantle years of misguided Medicaid policies by the Obama Administration.”