The governor announced Friday night the state would not expand the Medicaid program to lower number of uninsured residents
Florida Gov. Rick Scott now says Florida will do nothing to comply with President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul and will not expand its Medicaid program. The announcement is a marked changed after the governor recently said he would follow the law if it were upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Florida is not going to implement Obamacare. We are not going to expand Medicaid and we’re not going to implement exchanges,” Scott’s spokesman Lane Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday. Wright stressed that the governor would work to make sure the law is repealed.
Scott told Fox News the Medicaid expansion would cost Florida taxpayers $1.9 billion a year, but it’s unclear how he arrived at that figure.
Scott said the state will not expand the Medicaid program in order to lower the number of uninsured residents, nor will Florida set up a state-run health exchange, a marketplace where people who need insurance policies could shop for them.
“We care about having a health care safety net for the vulnerable Floridians, but this is an expansion that just doesn’t make any sense,” he told Fox host Greta Van Susteren.
Scott has gone back and forth on the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Thursday that Congress cannot withhold federal Medicaid funding from states that opt out of a requirement in the overhaul to expand coverage to those just above the poverty line.
On the day of the ruling Scott was cautious about the expansion, saying he wanted to read the ruling first. Then during an interview Friday morning on a Jacksonville radio station, Scott said it was unlikely he would go along with the expansion because of the potential cost to the state.
But the governor told the Tampa Bay Times later in the day that he was still evaluating the ruling and would come up with a plan within a few weeks.