Feds extend funds to Fla hospitals for 1 more year

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) - Federal health officials have agreed to funnel $2 billion to Florida hospitals and providers that serve uninsured patients for another year.

The fund was in jeopardy because federal health officials wanted to eventually sunset the so-called “low-income pool.” Officials assumed patients would gain insurance under Medicaid expansion as part of the Affordable Care Act, giving hospitals another revenue stream to treat poor patients. But Florida lawmakers voted against Medicaid expansion.

After that decision, hospitals warned they wouldn’t have the safety-net money needed to keep treating the poor and uninsured.

Health advocates say the agreement is only a short-term solution and renewed a call for Florida lawmakers to expand Medicaid because the low-income pool won’t be around much longer.

The state announced the extension Friday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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