Hospitals and nursing homes are targeted to lose about $350 million in funding as House and Senate negotiators worked Sunday night toward completing a $70 billion state budget.
The 5.6 percent Medicaid rate cut for hospitals and 1.25 percent reduction for nursing homes frees cash which helps bolster a $1 billion increase in dollars for public schools that budget-writers have already agreed will be a central part of spending this election year.
Senate budget chief J.D. Alexander, R-Lake Wales, said it’s still possible more dollars could flow to hospitals and nursing homes before a looming deadline for completing budget work.
The Legislature is scheduled to end the 2012 session Friday. But a constitutionally required 72-hour waiting period means lawmakers are looking to finish work Monday night.
Gov. Rick Scott had proposed far deeper reductions in hospital payments in his bid to pump more money toward schools, a year after he signed into law a $1.3 billion cut to classrooms. But Alexander said that on top of reductions last year, the proposed 5.6 percent cut still hurts.
“It’s still probably tough,” Alexander said. “We are struggling to find that right mix now.”