Kansas, Texas to back Scott in 'LIP" lawsuit

Gov. Rick Scott delivers 2015 State of the State address
Gov. Rick Scott delivers 2015 State of the State address

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will file a friend-of-the-court brief supporting Gov. Rick Scott in a lawsuit against the Obama administration stemming from negotiations about extending the Low Income Pool program, Scott's office announced Monday.

Scott filed the lawsuit last week, alleging that the federal officials are trying to "coerce" Florida into expanding Medicaid by threatening to cut off funding for the so-called LIP program, which funnels money to hospitals and other health providers that care for large numbers of poor and uninsured patients.

Florida is seeking an extension of the $2.2 billion LIP program, which is scheduled to expire June 30.

The state House and Senate have been locked in a budget standoff that centers on the LIP program and a Senate proposal to use federal Medicaid dollars to expand health-care coverage.

In a statement issued by his office Monday, Scott reiterated the allegation of attempted coercion.

"I am glad Kansas and Texas are joining our fight against the Obama administration for attempting to coerce Florida into Obamacare expansion by ending an existing federal healthcare program and telling us to expand Medicaid instead,'' Scott said. "The U.S. Supreme Court has already called this sort of coercion tactic illegal."