THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Hospitals push for tobacco tax to fun Medically Needy, Medicaid

Apr 10, 2009

Hospital leaders said Thursday that they’ll push to have a portion of a higher cigarette tax earmarked as permanent funding for the Medically Needy and Medicaid Agend/Disabled programs, add-on programs through Medicaid that face possible elimination every year.

The two programs, which serve about 40,000 Floridians, have been paid for with non-recurring money, meaning every year lawmakers must find a new way to pay for them or the programs will be eliminated.

The Florida Hospital Association is backing the Senate push for a $1, which so far isn’t part of the House plan.

“For every dollar that Florida spends on health care, the federal government gives us more than two dollars in matching money,” said Bruce Rueben, President and CEO of the Florida Hospital Association.

“As the budget conference evolves, the Florida Hospital Association will advocate for use of a portion of this (tobacco) surcharge as a recurring funding source for the Medicaid Medically Needy and Medicaid Aged/Disabled programs, which serve approximately 40,000 of the state’s sickest, most vulnerable citizens.” Please insert news event here.