The Corner

Strong-Arming Florida

The Obama administration is threatening funding for a Florida health-care program, the Low Income Pool, unless the state agrees to expand Medicaid. Negotiations do not seem to be going well, or really even happening.

“However, we have continued to have further communications with CMS — in fact, we have called CMS regularly to get someone on the phone who could further negotiate with us,” the [state’s Agency for Health Care Administration] said in a statement Tuesday. “However, no one at CMS with any signing authority has been made available. AHCA has had NO face-to-face meetings, NO scheduled phone calls and NO substantive dialogue with CMS since late March.”

The original version of Obamacare cut off all Medicaid funding for states that refused to participate in the law’s expansion of the program. The Supreme Court ruled in 2012, on a 7–2 vote, that this threat of a cut-off of existing funding was unconstitutionally coercive of the states. Apparently the administration believes it has found a new way to persuade at least one state to do its will.

Update: The administration of Governor Rick Scott (R.), in a letter sent today, is bringing up that 2012 decision: “The U.S. Supreme Court explicitly warned the federal government against attempting to coerce states into attempting to participate in Medicaid expansion–yet that appears to be exactly what the federal government is attempting here.”

Ramesh Ponnuru — Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg View, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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