Rick Scott says Florida will go along with massive Medicaid expansion under Obamacare

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Governor Rick Scott won’t block expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. Scott 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.”

“While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care,” said Scott. “We will support a three-year expansion of our Medicaid program under the new healthcare law, as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during this time. This legislation would sunset after three years and need to be reauthorized.” 

Continued Scott, “There are no perfect options. Our options are either having Floridians pay to fund this program in other states while denying healthcare to our citizens or using federal funding to help some of the poorest in our state with the Medicaid program as we explore other healthcare reforms.”

“Expanding access to Medicaid services for three years is a compassionate, common sense step forward. It is not the end of our work to improve healthcare.  And, it is not a white flag of surrender to government-run healthcare. I am committed to working every day to improve access to affordable, high-quality healthcare in Florida, while also protecting taxpayers and keeping our economy growing to create more jobs – which ultimately fuels the dreams of every Florida family.” (The Governor’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are available here.)

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,” Weatherford said in prepared remarks.

Developing…

Material from the News Service of Florida was used in this post.

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.