Florida – A report finds that Biden and the White House administration used their political government power to attack opponents in Republican-led states, something that according to the report happened in Florida too and the target was Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. In this case, a report by a watchdog group claims that the Biden administration used the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, also known as CMS, to impose several policies in Republican-led states, but not in Democrat-led states under similar criteria.
Government Accountability and Oversight group claims Biden admin targeted several states including Florida
According to a report by the National Review, documents from the Government Accountability and Oversight group suggest that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) specifically focused on Florida, Texas, and Missouri regarding a new way of understanding Medicaid financing rules. In these states, provider groups share Medicaid payments with each other. CMS claimed these practices were too similar to forbidden “hold harmless agreements,” where state governments promise to give back the taxes providers pay for Medicaid.
Interestingly, CMS did not seem to pay attention to similar actions by providers in Democratic-leaning states like California. An email from a senior official at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) revealed that CMS knew about similar tax arrangements in other states. Oddly enough, Mr. Biden, as a candidate, was against the wide-ranging application of CMS rules that would stop hold-harmless agreements.
Florida was constantly the target, DeSantis seen as Biden biggest opponent back then
So, why focus on certain states? It looks like Florida was a particular point of interest. An email disclosed that Florida was the only state that raised concerns during a financial management review by the Office of the Administrator at CMS, as per National Review. This took place during a politically charged period between late 2022 and early 2023, hinting at possible political motives behind the investigations.
Around this time, Governor Ron DeSantis of Florida was ahead of Donald Trump in the polls for the Republican primary. After DeSantis won re-election convincingly, officials from Biden’s administration were openly worried about the challenge he could pose. They talked to journalists about using the “Florida model” as a cautionary tale, suggesting that a DeSantis win could spell trouble for the country.
Just two weeks before CMS began scrutinizing Florida’s Medicaid practices, President Biden criticized Governor DeSantis in a speech in Florida for not making Medicaid more accessible. This criticism seems at odds with the CMS investigation, which threatened to shake up how Florida manages Medicaid funds, possibly affecting people’s healthcare coverage. This move could support Biden’s political campaign against DeSantis.
The involvement of political appointees in the CMS audit raises concerns. Officials from the White House had a say in when the review happened. Jason Weida, the head of Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration, expressed to National Review that this situation was just the beginning of the issues, accusing the White House of consistently targeting Florida whenever possible.
Healthcare policy is complex, and government officials typically avoid causing controversy without a strong justification. When a government adopts a policy that goes against the president’s stance without giving any reasons, especially if it affects states run by the opposition party, it should make people wonder. If documents show that these officials overlooked similar practices in states run by their political friends, it looks like a serious issue.