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Bill Day’s latest: Let the poor (and lawmakers) eat Medicaid cake

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

Florida news flash: Gov. Rick Scott is a double flip-flopper.

While that in itself may not be surprising to some, this time it is significant why he reversed course – Medicaid expansion for healthcare to nearly one million low-income and uninsured Floridians.

Now, like Marie Antoinette, he tells the poor to “eat cake,” in Bill Day’s latest.

That’s putting it nicely.

Others see it as something else: Scott simply cannot be trusted to keep his word. He lied. And they may have a point.

This week, Scott declared he is no longer supporting the push for Medicaid expansion. It is a change in position that jeopardizes the state’s fragile budget talks between the House and Senate.

Scott’s concern is the federal government would fail to renew the low-income pool (LIP); federal funds for hospitals that serve the poor and uninsured. This announcement comes as Scott and the Legislature are negotiating with the federal government to extend more than $1 billion in LIP money.

As the feds say no, the argument now moves to Medicaid expansion in the 2015-2016 budget.

Scott’s turnaround makes a bad situation worse for 800,000 uninsured Floridians.

On his first campaign trail, Scott strongly opposed Medicaid expansion; but two years ago -– in an emotional speech -– he flipped to support the idea.

That was then, when Scott was a candidate for a second term. Not now.

After the governor flip-flopped (once again), the budget disagreement served to grind Tallahassee to a halt. Lawmakers struggle to close a nearly $5 billion gap between the two spending plans, and finalize a new state budget before May 1, the scheduled end of session.

With less than 30 days left to settle the budget matter, chances are high that legislators will be forced into overtime for the one thing they are constitutionally required to do every year — pass a budget.

When that special session happens, maybe they too can eat some leftover Medicaid cake.

BILL DAY SCOTT CAKE

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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