Medicaid expansion in Florida faces another setback
March 11th, 2013
04:27 PM ET
10 years ago

Medicaid expansion in Florida faces another setback

(CNN) – Despite Gov. Rick Scott's endorsement of expanding Medicaid using federal dollars in Florida, Republicans in the Sunshine State's legislature have landed a potentially fatal blow to the plan.

On Monday, a GOP-controlled Senate panel voted against the Medicaid expansion, a week after their House counterpart similarly rejected a plan that would increase coverage using money from the federal government. The Medicaid expansion is an optional provision of President Barack Obama's sweeping health care law.

Unless the state's lawmakers come to an alternative compromise with Scott on expanding Medicaid, the health care program for low-income Americans would not be expanded in Florida. Scott, a Republican who campaigned heavily against Obama's health care law in 2010, said he would accept the federal dollars last month.

"I am confident that the Legislature will do the right thing and find a way to protect taxpayers and the uninsured in our state while the new healthcare law provides 100 percent federal funding," Scott wrote in a statement after the Senate committee's vote.

Under Obamacare, the federal government will pick up the total cost of the expensive expansion for the first three years, after which the federal funding will phase down to 90%. The program covers all adults with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $14,404 for an individual.

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.

However, in accepting 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.

CNN's Tami Lahby contributed to this report.

Filed under: Florida • Medicaid • Rick Scott
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Concerned citizen

    Nice photo; remind me, please, which jail was it from?

    March 11, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Flo

    In France it used to be "Let 'em eat cake." Nowadays in Florida it's "Let 'em die." The GOP–enemy of the people.

    March 11, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Gov Rick Scott is learning the hard lesson, "You reap what you sowed." He spent too many years demonizing the Affordable Health Care Act and pandering to Tea Partiers.

    March 11, 2013 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  4. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I guess that these people don't like people getting medical insurance so that they can see a doctor. They don't seem to understand that healthier people can work longer without needing to go to the ER.

    March 11, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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