Gov. Scott’s health care cut criticized

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A health care advocacy group says Gov. Rick Scott’s proposal to cut more than $400 million in general revenue from the state’s health care budget is short-sighted because it would cost the state another $1.2 billion in federal money that would instead go to other states, reports The News Service of Florida. The Florida Center for Fiscal and Economic Policy, a frequent critic of Republican health care policy in the state, said that the proposed cut of more than $2 billion from Medicaid really isn’t what it seems – because more than half of that is lost federal matching dollars, with only a fraction of the savings coming from actual state taxpayers. “The proposed cuts would be detrimental to both Florida and Floridians, undermining the already strained Medicaid system, imperiling access to care for the sickest, and siphoning off Florida’s share of federal tax dollars out of the economy,” the group said Wednesday. “In light of the unprecedented leveraging that occurs when state general revenue is invested in Medicaid ($10.8 billion in federal tax dollars will come back into the state’s economy in 2011-12 alone), as well as the extreme vulnerability of the Medicaid recipients who would be harmed by the proposed cuts, there simply is no rational basis for the Governor’s insistence on yet another round of attacks undermining this critical safety net program.” A poll out this week from Quinnipiac University found that many Floridians also disagree with the governor’s proposal to slash Medicaid spending, even though it is to make money available to boost education spending, normally a very popular position. In answer to the general question “Would you support cutting Medicaid funding in order to increase education funding?” 67 percent of respondents said no.  Scott has said Floridians have told him they want an increase in education spending, and the money must come from somewhere.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.