Compilation of reactions to Rick Scott’s decision to expand Medicaid in Florida under Obamacare

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Rick Scott has announced that Florida should go along unless federal officials back away from a commitment to pick up the cost. It’s a reversal of position for Scott in the eyes of conservatives opposed to the health care law, known as “Obamacare.”

Here is a compilation of reactions to this controversial decision.

Attorney General Pam Bondi, via Twitter:

“Concerned about consequences of greater fed control over healthcare, a major expansion of govt. At least FL lawsuit gave each state a choice.”

House Speaker Will Weatherford said he respects Scott’s decision but that ultimately the Legislature will make the decision:

“I am personally skeptical that this inflexible law will improve the quality of healthcare in our state and ensure our long-term financial stability.”

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston:

“I am pleased that Governor Scott has, after much delay, endorsed implementation of a major component of the nation’s health care law by seeking legislative approval of an extension of Medicaid services to Florida’s most vulnerable population. 

“I would prefer that the governor embrace the Affordable Care Act without constraints, such as his newly proposed automatic three-year sunset of expanded Medicaid coverage. Regardless, his comments today are a step forward that I urge Republican legislative leaders to meet with action. 

“I am confident that this important and necessary expansion of Florida’s Medicaid program will improve the quality of healthcare in our state and can be achieved in an affordable manner.”

Representative Richard Corcoran:

“While today’s letter from the federal government on the progress of Florida’s Medicaid waiver is welcomed news, it does not influence the decision to expand Medicaid in our state. The House Select Committee on PPACA has and will continue to have separate discussions on that issue and will make a principled recommendation in the best interest of all Floridians.”

Representative Mike Fasano:

“The Governor has come to recognize that we have a responsibility to help those that have no access to even primary care. My hope is my colleagues in the Florida Legislature will do the same for the little guy and gal of Florida.”

Senator Eleanor Sobel:

“This important choice by the Governor will save lives in Florida. I am glad that he has followed the advice that Democrats, under the leadership of Sen. Chris Smith, have given him throughout this process and is doing the right thing. By expanding Medicaid, over 1.2 million uninsured Floridians will have access to vital health care.”

Americans for Prosperity is calling Scott’s decision a threat to Florida’s financial future:

“Governor Scott’s announcement today is extremely disappointing.  Governor Scott had been a national leader in the fight against President Obama’s healthcare takeover.  He was elected because of his principled conservative leadership against ObamaCare’s overreach, and led the charge, with Attorney General Pam Bondi, to take ObamaCare to the Supreme Court.  But today he came out in support of the Medicaid expansion he vowed to oppose.”

“At every level of government, it is too easy for politicians to spend other people’s money. For far too long, states have fallen for the promises of “free” federal money ignoring the insidious federal strings and the long-term effects on state budgets.  Florida’s Medicaid program already costs the taxpayers more than $20 billion a year, and the financial burden will only grow if a million new people are added to the program. Hopefully our legislative leaders will not follow in Governor Scott’s footsteps and will reject expansion of this broken system.”

Associated Industries CEO and President Tom Feeney:

“Regardless of where any individual stood on the Affordable Health Care Act on Election Day, the dilemma facing policy leaders and businesses resolving the challenges of the future of health care policy in Florida is enormous. AIF will continue to encourage the Legislature to best utilize federal funding to provide coverage to more Floridians in a manner that best safeguards Florida’s citizens and protects its financial health.”

Florida Democratic Party chair Allison Tant is describing it as a stunning about-face:

“Today, following President Obama’s lead and the overwhelming will of Floridians, Rick Scott finally abandoned his crusade to block affordable health care for Florida’s families and accepted the expansion of Medicaid. We hope and expect that Republicans like Rep. Will Weatherford and Sen. Don Gaetz, who have stood with Scott to consistently stall its implementation, will soon follow suit. 

“Three years of staunch opposition and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars later, embattled Governor Rick Scott today flip-flopped on the central issue which has defined his political career. This stunning about-face is merely the latest move to repackage a Governor whose approval rating with Floridians remains as toxic as his Tea Party agenda. But Scott’s election year makeover on issue after issue is fooling no one and simply underscores his central problem: he can’t be trusted.”

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.