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Rick Scott’s executive appointments may be in trouble after all

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Senate President Andy Gardiner isn’t making any promises that the Senate will confirm Gov. Rick Scott‘s appointments for agency heads.

Gardiner said he couldn’t make any assurances that the Senate would confirm any of the governor’s appointments, including Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Liz Dudek, who transformed the state’s Medicaid program into a mandatory managed-care health delivery system.

Gardiner told reporters earlier in the month that he would not let the impasse over healthcare financing and Medicaid expansion interfere with Scott’s appointments and that the Senate would not play games.

He defended his position on Thursday and said it wasn’t a reversal in policy.

“Historically, they have two years to be confirmed,” Gardiner said. “I think some of our senators have had some concerns with responses from secretaries. By no means would we be playing games or threatening or anything like that. I don’t think that’s appropriate in this process. Certainly, I hope nobody is threatening anybody in this process. We will be prepared to address them as they come up.”

When asked whether Gardiner had any concerns with Dudek — whose agency was charged with negotiating the renewal of the Low Income Pool — Gardiner said he had none.

“I’ll be deferring to my colleagues, the senators, Republicans and Democrats, on what we would ultimately do.”

Two Senate health committees have recommended Dudek for confirmation: the Senate Health Policy Committee as well as the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee. Another of Scott’s appointments, John Armstrong, who heads the Department of Health, has not been recommended for confirmation by any Senate panel. The Sente Health Policy Committee deferred action on Armstrong after he refused to answer whether he supported a Medicaid expansion and whether a Medicaid expansion would improve health outcomes.

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