Its hard to quantify the dollar impact on any one change based on the information provided by the state in its estimates.
When we asked for details on these assumptions, Michelle Dahnke, a spokesperson for the Agency for Health Care Administration, said the state simply wanted to be as cautious as possible with its estimates.
But state officials were aware that the estimates were off even as Scott repeated the numbers in Washington, according to emails obtained by Carol Gentry of Health News Florida, part of WUSF Media. The Health News Florida report noted that J. Eric Pridgeon, on the staff of the House Health Care Appropriations Subcommittee, questioned the study almost immediately. On Dec. 20, three days after the study was released, Pridgeon wrote state agency officials saying that the federal revenues for Medicaid expansion states are part of the Affordable Care Act and cannot be omitted.
In response to criticism of the estimates, Scott spokesperson Melissa Sellers issued a statement defending them but noting, "Others have asked AHCA to use different assumptions to calculate different cost estimates. We look forward to reviewing those cost estimates as well."
The inflated estimates seem to be part of a pattern. Last summer, Scott claimed a Medicaid expansion would cost $1.9 billion a year. PolitiFact Florida looked into that number at the time and concluded that the estimate "appears to be wildly high." We rated his statement False.
There is no doubt that Medicaid represents a significant part of the states budget, and that any plan to expand the system no matter how much the federal government pays for could include additional costs to the state.
But rather than have a fact-based discussion about the states responsibilities when it comes to health care, it appears that Scott and his staff are making strange assumptions to make the estimates higher than they actually will be.
This is also a case where Scott cannot simply hide behind the fact that he is accurately citing a "study." His office directed the analysis, and it was notified that the assumptions were questionable.
Scott gets a pass on one thing: The cost to expand Medicaid is largely unknown. But using a study to say that the expansion of Medicaid would cost Florida taxpayers "over $26 billion" is False.