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Congressional Republicans to Obama: Don't End LIP in Florida

Republicans in the Florida delegation -- U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Vern Buchanan, Carlos Curbelo, Ron DeSanits, Mario Diaz-Balart, John Mica, Jeff Miller, Rich Nugent, Tom Rooney, Dennis Ross and Ted Yoho -- waded into the fight over Medicaid expansion on Wednesday, sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to stop the Low Income Pool (LIP) program in Florida. Sources in the Obama administration tell Sunshine State News that HHS has not pulled the plug on LIP funding for Florida even as LIP will not be renewed in its current form.

The Florida Republicans wrote the following:

We are writing to request your immediate action to reverse the U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) decision to end to the Low Income Pool (LIP) program in Florida. This federal program has been working to help low-income families in our state access health care for many years until HHS recently told state officials that their decision to continue funding was linked to the states decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

Florida hospitals are at risk of losing $1.5 billion a year if LIP funding is allowed to expire. If the funding is not in place on June 30, 2015, Jackson Memorial would lose $237.2 million; Tampa General would lose $85.2 million; University of Florida Gainesville would lose $106.7 million; University of Florida Jacksonville would lose $94.4 million; Orlando Health would lose $54.8 million; and Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach would lose $16.2 million.

The Supreme Courts decision in NFIB v. Sebelius made clear that the federal government could not withhold federal funding in order to coerce states into expanding Medicaid. HHS refusal to continue LIP funding in Florida because the state has not expanded Medicaid is an inappropriate overreach and in direct contradiction to the Supreme Court decision. (Additionally, the Navigant study conducted at the direction of HHS found that the population covered under LIP is not identical to the population that would be served under the expansion of Obamacare.)

We are requesting your immediate action to reverse HHS decision to end LIP funding. The well-being of Floridas low-income families will remain in jeopardy until your administration approves funding for these vital health services.

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