Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist argued the decision by Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and his fellow Republicans in the state to not expand Medicaid is the ongoing source of many deaths in Florida.
Crist, who is running against Scott as a Democrat, made the charge in an interview with MSNBC on Friday.
“About a million of my fellow Floridians are not getting health care today, and I am told by friends SEIU (sic), that means six people in Florida die every day as a result of that. Every day,” Crist said.
MSNBC host Chuck Todd then paused to make sure Crist was saying what he meant to say.
“Wait a minute. So that’s a tough allegation. You are connecting — you’re saying people are dying, and it’s the fault of not expanding Medicaid?” Todd said.
Crist said his claim wasn’t a “stretch at all.”
A Harvard study released last month did connect a lack of Medicaid expansion to deaths in states, but it’s not clear if Crist was referencing this or any other study.
“It’s not hard to figure that out. It’s common sense. Look at it. If people are sick, and they aren’t getting health care, what happens? They usually get sicker,” Crist said. “Or they die. I mean, those are just the facts, Chuck. That’s what happens. In addition to it, it’s economically stupid. As a result, we’re not getting $51 billion over the next 10 years for the health care institutions in Florida. So the people get better health care, so that kids don’t get sick, that we take care of people. That’s what public servants are supposed to do. That’s why I’m running against Rick Scott, because he’s not a good servant.”
It should be noted that in February 2013 Scott himself actually endorsed expanding Medicaid in the state but Republicans in the state legislature blocked the expansion. Scott though has not been vocally pushing for expanding Medicaid since then. The Tampa Bay Times recently noted that Scott’s 2014-2015 budget has been “silent” on expanding Medicaid in Florida despite introduced proposals this year in the state legislature to expand the program.