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AHCA chief says talks continue on 'LIP' money

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Facing questions from senators Monday during a confirmation hearing, Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Justin Senior said state officials are continuing to negotiate with the federal government about money in the Low Income Pool program.

Gov. Rick Scott announced this month that $1.5 billion would be available during the coming year for the program, which provides additional money to hospitals that care for large numbers of poor and uninsured patients.

Senior told the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee that state health officials are negotiating details with the federal government and are seeking "flexibility" in the way money could be used.

Lawmakers hope an influx of so-called LIP funds could help free up money that otherwise would go to hospitals.

That freed-up money could go toward other parts of the state budget.

The Ethics and Elections Committee voted to confirm the appointment of Senior, along with numerous other officials such as Surgeon General Celeste Philip, Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Jeffrey Bragg, Department of Veterans' Affairs Executive Director Glenn Sutphin and Public Service Commission member Donald Polmann.