Jeb Bush opposed to Florida Medicaid expansion
March 6th, 2013
01:21 PM ET
10 years ago

Jeb Bush opposed to Florida Medicaid expansion

(CNN) – Florida's former governor Jeb Bush isn't in alignment with the Sunshine State's current Republican executive on the issue of accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage to more lower income residents.

Asked by CNN Chief Washington Correspondent Jake Tapper about Rick Scott's recent decision to accept the funds, which are included as part of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law, Bush said he had reservations about the Medicaid expansion, which will be totally funded by the federal government for the first three years. After that, federal funding will be phased down.

"The Lead with Jake Tapper" premieres Monday, March 18 only on CNN.

"I have doubts because I think if three years from now, as I understand it, three or four years from now, the deal is that the fed match goes from 95 back to what it is now, which is about 55 in Florida," Bush said.

"It's been my experience that it's been hard to tell people that once they've gotten some benefits, 'Sorry you can't have it now,'" he continued.

While Bush is correct that federal financing for Medicaid expansion phases down, the Kaiser Family Foundation indicates the federal matching level would remain at 90% for "2020 and beyond."

In his acceptance of the Medicaid expansion, Scott faced blowback from conservative Republicans who oppose Obama's health law as an overreach of the federal government. Scott was once a leading voice against the law, and campaigned heavily against it during his 2010 bid for governor.

In agreeing to the provision last month, Scott said he could not "in good conscience deny the uninsured access to care."

"We will support a three-year expansion of our Medicaid program under the new healthcare law, as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during this time," he said.

The expansion faced a set back earlier this week, however, when a Florida House committee on Monday declined to produce on a bill expanding Medicaid in the state.

Republicans on the Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act questioned whether the funding from the federal government would actually last for three years, given current wrangling in Washington over federal spending and the national debt. They also worried about expanding a program in Florida they characterized as broken.

Medicaid expansion in Florida isn't totally dead, however. A Florida Senate panel postponed a vote Monday on whether or not to accept the Obamacare provision, saying it needed more time to digest information that was presented by the state's economist. If the Senate panel votes it through, followed by the full Florida Senate, then it would go to the full Florida House for consideration. Republicans hold significant majorities in both chambers of the Florida legislature, making an expansion Medicaid far from certain in the state.

The Medicaid expansion program would extend medical coverage to all adults with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $14,404 for an individual.

CNN's Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.

Filed under: Florida • Jeb Bush • Medicaid
soundoff (26 Responses)
  1. rs

    If Republicans are going to dismiss Medicaid expansion (especially to the poor and elderly), they simply must explain what their policy is to ensure cheap, and equitable access to medical care for all is, OR they must justify why they support creating a condition in the richest nation in the world where 40% of the population no longer can afford health care- and why in their minds that is acceptable, or even sane.

    March 6, 2013 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. Lynda/Minnesota

    So, what's Jeb Bush going to do? Sell his book. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Jeb Bush will never become President of the United States. And this "book tour" of his is becoming a joke.

    Keep dusting off Mr. Mittens Etch A Sketch, GOPers. It served you all well in 2012. I expect it's going to serve you all as well in 2016.

    March 6, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  3. Publius Novus

    Bush has to start his right-ward movement in order to compete in the primaries.

    March 6, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    So, is a state's participation in Obamacare going to flip back and forth, year in and year out? Every time the governer's mansion changes party control?

    If Florida voters had any sense, they would be best not take Rick Scott at his word about Medicaid expansion. Haven't you noticed how there has been a curious lack of outcry against GOP governers who going for expanding medicaid? Where have all of the "cut spending" shouts been on the issue? They suddenly silenced once the first GOP governer committed to it. I'd bet that it's because they have no intention of actually following through and continuing the program after they get re-elected.

    March 6, 2013 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  5. Betsy

    Surprise ! Surprise ! Remember this when he is running for president, because like all Republicans, his belief is that the poor should have no benefits and they will lie to get their point across.

    March 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Laverne

    I think Jeb has decided he wants to be president afterall, but it won't happen! Someone obviously has convinced him it is his time to throw his hat in the ring and he can thank big brother Bush for making sure he will NEVER be president, THANKS GEORGE BUSH!

    March 6, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Someone obviously has convinced him it is his time to throw his hat in the ring ... "

    One wonders who the fool is that convinced him it is "his time". Especially after Ann Romney tried so hard to convince "you people" it was her time. Well, Mr. Mittens time acually... but she did pull Mitt's strings to get what she thought SHE deserved. Luckily for America, it's the one present Mitt couldn't buy for Ann. Let her have her dressage and car elevators to amuse herself with.

    I expect this is one present the Bush clan can't buy for Jeb either.

    March 6, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Martha in CF

    So, who died and made Jeb Bush all knowing? Enough of this guy already!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2013 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    @rs – the Republicans have no plans to ensure cheap, and equitable access to medical care for all. They are pro-birth and once you're here, you're on your own! You are supposed to be a college educated, pro-gun, pro-military, pro-birth, church-going, talk-radio listening, never aging or getting sick, preferably wealthy white male to belong to their extremist group. Yet so many trailer-park, knuckle-dragging red state welfare types constantly vote for the Grand Obstructionist Policy.

    The GOP needs to redefine the definition of conservative.. they are not it. Jeb will not stand a chance on the Nat'l stage this soon after his brother turned out to be the worst President in history.

    March 6, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. Ray E. (Georgia)

    After 75 Plus years of Big Liberal Social Programs there should be no poor, needy people in America. So, I have to ask, Wha Hoppen? If the Liberal way didn't work isn't it time to try something else? Jeb Bush is correct, by the way. You think Health Care is expensive now, wait until it's free !! But Obama Care will not cost you one more dime ! You believe me, don't you ??

    March 6, 2013 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. bcrunner

    And we thought Jeb was the smart one of the Bush brothers. I guess not. First he flip flops on the immigration issue and now he is against medicaid expansion. I think he is trying to be the head of the tea party!! Way to go Jeb!!

    March 6, 2013 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  12. Donna

    Bush knows the feds always PROMISE to pay and then stick the states with the tab. They bribe the states with money initially and with future promises of money, only to renage, or maybe in the not too distant future, go bankrupt. And then the states are on the hook for billions they can't afford. State taxes then sky rocket because the gravy train must continue at all costs and down comes the economy. Democrats are porfessional con men. Just look what they have done to California, Illinois and Detriot. That is what they plan for the entire country.

    March 6, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Thomas

    The first thing we missed as a county after defeating the British was the royal family .

    Meet the new Royal family .
    The Bush Dynasty

    March 6, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |

    Jeb so you favor more and more people using emergency rooms for there doctors office. Just like a Bush lite on thinking and big on talking. I guess if you become president you will charge your war just like your brother did.

    March 6, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Looking for honesty

    This is a great example of much of the opposition to ObamaCare from the beginning of the debate. The law that Jeb says he opposes simply does not exist, it is just a boogy man created by the right.

    March 6, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Pete

    If Jeb and republicans object to Medicaid expansion at least in Florida maybe they should patrol the hiways,coastlines and under rocks for the major portion of people that use this program as illegals that come in through state lines every day!!This state Florida with a corrupt republican governor that can't lead but still makes political waves being the first to legally reject the ACA bill but now approves it with open arms and again after the governor approves it his republican led houses voted against him denying the bills acceptence..Now that's ignorence considering if this states republicans don't accept this program the state with its enormous foriegn base as inhabitants mostly illegal will certainly go bankrupt much sooner than later..Just some food for thought from someone that not only lives in Florida but has been economicly effected by this huge foriegn influx as well in this state!!

    March 6, 2013 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Ray E. (Georgia) wrote:

    Golly, After 75 Plus years of Big Liberal Social Programs there should be no poor, needy people in America.
    The only reason why "Big Liberal Social Programs" even exist is because of the right wing's dedication to economic apartheid.

    March 6, 2013 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. just sayin

    all this is a leftist con game to get more and more people on government healthcare until one day everybody is on it. medicare gets all the old people, medicaid all the poor people and now expanding it to others, obamacare gives millions free government healthcare while driving 20 million out of employer based coverage to government exchanges. they are attacking from both ends and will destroy private healthcare in the future. that is what obamacare was really all about. it is a poison pill to the private healthcare industry in this country.

    March 6, 2013 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Tommy G

    Rudy NYC
    dedication to economic apartheid.

    The only "economic apartheid" being practiced is by the leftist Democrat Party. Keeping tens of millions poor and dependent on the government plantation. Those that wake up, reject it and escape it can easily do well for themselves in this country. But if they buy into the Democart victimhood mentality, they stand no chance to better themselves.

    March 6, 2013 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. v_mag

    Jeb is selling books. "Running for president" is a way to get publicity and sell more books. He's not running for president, because he and everybody with functional brain cells knows that he could never even get the nomination, and even if he did, he would get slaughtered in the general election.

    Everybody calm down about Jeb. Palin made the same kind of noises to sell book and promote her speaking tours. She didn't even pretend to run, once the Iowa caucuses began. It's fodder for CNN, because it's a scary story for them to tell the world. CNN lives on disasters and long-shot "what if" stories.

    March 6, 2013 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  21. muchthunder..little rain

    just be able to pay for it...but like the inidan peace treaty..not worth much

    March 6, 2013 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. v_mag

    Tommy G, you should take a look at a graph of wealth distribution in America. The average CEO makes 380 times what his average employee makes. That's economic apartheid, and it is caused by policies that favor the rich. Those policies, like low capital gains tax rates and the vast reduction in rates generally for the wealthy, have been fostered mostly by Repugnants. There is no upward mobility in America now, because we have such vast income inequality that we effectively have the extremely wealthy and the poor (working or otherwise) and nothing that could be considered a middle class. The next step is feudalism. Rudy NYC is right and you are dead wrong.

    March 6, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  23. Wilson

    @Tommy G

    Rudy NYC
    dedication to economic apartheid.

    The only "economic apartheid" being practiced is by the leftist Democrat Party. Keeping tens of millions poor and dependent on the government plantation. Those that wake up, reject it and escape it can easily do well for themselves in this country. But if they buy into the Democart victimhood mentality, they stand no chance to better themselves.
    That is what community organizers are good at, victim creation. The create the victims and keep them as victims and dependents. Unfortunately not many wake up, which is why there are more people on food stamps than ever before in this couintry, 47,000,000.

    March 6, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  24. v_mag

    just sayin is afraid everyone will someday be on "government health care". What is funny to me is there is not a single senator or congressperson, even teabaggers , that object to receiving "government health care". They all love it! They love it so much that they voted it in for themselves, and not one single person tries to opt out.

    How do you square that with the attacks they make on the old and poor for receiving health care that is far inferior to that enjoyed by our representatives?

    March 6, 2013 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Wilson



    Meanwhile, the president is trying to create a self-fulfilling prophecy by encouraging unnecessary, high profile cuts. Obama, worst president ever. You would have to be a glue sniffing fool to continue to worship at the Obama altar.
    You can tell by the comments on here who the glue sniffers are, either that or they are paidschills. No one can possibly be as ignorant as their comments show them to be. That being said, republicans are not much better, they are "democrat lite," with a few exceptions.

    March 6, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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