Florida Gov. Rick Scott reversed his position Monday on the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare, deciding that his state should not adopt it after all.
The stakes are enormous as the Republican governor’s decision means that as many as 800,000 low-income Floridians could go without health insurance. Under Obamacare the federal government was tasked with covering the full cost until 2017 and at least 90 percent thereafter.
Scott’s intentions, first reported by The Associated Press, were made clear in a statement distributed by the governor’s office on Monday morning. He pointed his finger at the federal government for declining to give Florida the funds he requested for the state’s Low Income Pool (LIP) program, which helps pay hospitals for uncompensated care.
“Our priority is to cut more than $600 million in taxes this session and get K-12 education funding up to record levels while holding the line on college tuition. We still have several weeks left for budget negotiations; however, given that the federal government said they would not fund the federal LIP program to the level it is funded today, it would be hard to understand how the state could take on even more federal programs that CMS could scale back or walk away from,” Scott said.
The second-term governor initially opposed Medicaid expansion but changed his position in February 2013 and decided to support it. But he failed to bring the Republicans in the legislature on board so it didn’t happen. Scott’s position Monday represents a reversal back to his initial stance.
“Rick Scott completed a rare double flip-flop today,” Jared Leopold, a spokesman for the Democratic Governors Association, said in an email. “Governor Scott has shown Floridians that he cannot be trusted to keep his word — and that he will always put his own political ambitions over the needs of the Sunshine State.”