Florida Governor Scott Slammed on Own Support of Obamacare Provision

No doubt about it, Florida Governor Rick Scott is a wounded warrior — his leadership becoming completely emasculated on the issue of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Recall that the SCOTUS made it optional for states to expand funding for Medicaid under the ACA. It’s essentially up to the chief executives of states to determine just how far their share of taxpayer funded healthcare will go in the age of reform.

Scott, who shifted his stance on the measure, apparently does not have the support of the Florida legislature. On Friday of last week, the GOP-controlled legislature passed its budget without a cent going to Medicaid expansion. Scott, a “severe” conservative on fiscal issues, is apparently operating within a leadership vacuum here. Republican lawmakers have been sparring over this issue for months.

In a way, this is a bit surprising. No one ever expected to hear Scott extoll the benefits of President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment. That being said, the Medicaid expansion is a really big deal for state budgets—the budget that Scott is charged with overseeing. If his state had participated in the Medicaid expansion, the Urban Institute estimated it would bring $66 billion of federal funds into the state over the course of a decade.

Unless a special session is called, over 1M FL residents will be affected. Of course, this will spill over to hospitals and other acute care realms — driving up the eventual cost for the delivery of care in that state. Scott is not the only GOP chief executive facing down the gauntlet of similarly minded GOP-controlled legislatures; Ohio’s John Kasich, Ariz.’s Jan Brewer, and Michigan’s Rick Snyder are all having trouble navigating state budgets to include this measure. Expect a fight in Florida, where the GOP has expressed free market alternatives for coping with the onslaught of care access under Obamacare.

06. May 2013 by Michael Douglas, MD, MBA
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