Governor Scott Calls for Expanding Medicaid Under Affordable Care Act
February 21, 2013 | WMFE - Governor Rick Scott on Wednesday called for an expansion of Medicaid to an estimated 900,000 additional Florida residents under the federal Affordable Care Act.
Governor Scott said he'll support a three-year expansion of Medicaid that would need to be reauthorized. Federal funding would cover 100 percent of the costs during that time.
"Our options are either having Floridians pay to fund this program in other states while denying heath care to our citizens or using federal funding to help some of the poorest in our state with the Medicaid program as we explore other health care reforms." Scott said.
Scott has opposed so-called, “Obamacare” in the past but he says it's now time to deal with the current reality.
"It doesn't matter what I believe. It doesn't matter what anybody believes. The Supreme Court's already made their decision. We had an election in the fall and the public made their decision.” Scott said. “Now the president's health care law, the mandate, that's the law and I think this is a common-sense solution to dealing with this for the next three years that will give us time to think about how we can improve the system."
The move outraged many of Scott's conservative backers but drew praise from Democrats.
At a stop Wednesday in Orlando just hours before Gov. Scott’s announcement, Florida Democratic US Senator Bill Nelson said it makes sense for Florida to participate in the overhaul’s Medicaid expansion.
“The federal government is paying 100 percent of the cost for the next 3 years, and the max Florida would pay is 10 percent of the total cost.” Nelson said.
Governor Scott’s announcement came just hours after federal officials announced they will approve Florida's request to privatize its existing Medicaid program if the state agrees to measure the quality of patient care.
Now it's up to state lawmakers to decide how to proceed from here, and Scott said he's asked legislative leaders for their support.
Gov. Scott joins six other Republican governors who are also expanding Medicaid.