REACTION TO GOVERNOR’S SUPPORT OF MEDICAID EXPANSION
In a reversal of opinion, Gov. Rick Scott announced his support Wednesday for the expansion of Medicaid in Florida. It drew widespread reaction — some positive, some negative. Here’s a sampling:
• “I’m pleased that the Governor has decided to support implementing the Medicaid expansion component of Obamacare. It has always been a critical facet of ensuring all Floridians have access to quality affordable health care. Of course, I’m disappointed he’s made the irresponsible decision to agree only to the expansion for the next three years while the federal government is footing 100% of the cost. That’s not the certainty or leadership Floridians need. And while it’s good news for Florida that Medicaid coverage will be expanding, I’m deeply concerned about the governor’s plan to go statewide with a managed-care pilot program that has had mixed results when tested in a few Florida counties, including Broward. We need strong and enforceable safeguards in place to protect the quality of health care for Medicaid recipients."
- U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Weston, and chair of the Democratic National Committee
• “Regardless of where any individual stood on the Affordable Health Care Act on Election Day, the dilemma facing policy leaders and businesses resolving the challenges of the future of health care policy in Florida is enormous. AIF will continue to encourage the Legislature to best utilize federal funding to provide coverage to more Floridians in a manner that best safeguards Florida’s citizens and protects its financial health. As these discussions continue, AIF will continue to advocate for a thoughtful and deliberative approach to ensure that Florida’s businesses do not continue to be saddled with the enormous tax bill of the uninsured that hampers economic growth and job creation.”
Tom Feeney, president and CEO of Associated Industries of Florida (AIF).
• “People’s heads are probably exploding at tea party headquarters across the country, and that’s because we may have just witnessed a crucial turning point in the Republican’s hyper-partisan opposition to the Affordable Care Act. If there was ever any question that Obamacare would be fully implemented, we got the answer today from one of the leaders of the anti-Obamacare movement. Rick Scott has disregarded his own orthodoxy and put responsible governing over reckless partisan politics and extremism. Scott came around to what everyone has known all along: accepting federal funds to extend Medicaid to 1.3 million Floridians is good for hospitals, businesses, state and local governments and, most importantly, the people who need health care. This is a good day for health care and for all Americans who believe solving problems is more important than scoring political points.”
- Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now.
• “The National Women’s Law Center applauds Governor Rick Scott for his support of the expansion of health coverage through the Medicaid program. Now about 613,000 Florida women stand to gain the security of quality health coverage and the ability to get the care they need, when they need it, without facing huge medical bills. Combined with other reforms in the Affordable Care Act, this expansion would reduce the percentage of uninsured women in Florida from 25.3 percent to 5.8 percent. Women covered through the Medicaid expansion will receive a comprehensive set of health benefits, such as mammograms, preventive health screenings, and treatment for chronic conditions. In addition, women and their families will enjoy greater economic security—people with Medicaid coverage are less likely to ignore other bills or borrow money to pay medical expenses than people without health coverage. When women have health insurance, the entire family can better manage its health—for example, children can get their asthma medications, and mothers can manage their high blood pressure.
- Judy Waxman, NWLC’s Vice President for Health & Reproductive Rights
• “Governor Scott’s announcement today is extremely disappointing. Governor Scott had been a national leader in the fight against President Obama’s healthcare takeover. He was elected because of his principled conservative leadership against ObamaCare’s overreach, and led the charge, with Attorney General Pam Bondi, to take ObamaCare to the Supreme Court. But today he came out in support of the Medicaid expansion he vowed to oppose. At every level of government, it is too easy for politicians to spend other people’s money. For far too long, states have fallen for the promises of “free” federal money ignoring the insidious federal strings and the long-term effects on state budgets. Florida’s Medicaid program already costs the taxpayers more than $20 billion a year, and the financial burden will only grow if a million new people are added to the program. Hopefully our legislative leaders will not follow in Governor Scott’s footsteps and will reject expansion of this broken system.”
- Americans for Prosperity-Florida’s State Director Slade O’Brien.
• “Today, following President Obama’s lead and the overwhelming will of Floridians, Rick Scott finally abandoned his crusade to block affordable health care for Florida’s families and accepted the expansion of Medicaid. We hope and expect that Republicans like Rep. Will Weatherford and Sen. Don Gaetz, who have stood with Scott to consistently stall its implementation, will soon follow suit.”
- Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Allison Tant
• “The only reason to expand Medicaid would be if one believes Medicaid is in fact a good system for the delivery of health care services. I believe it’s a very flawed system, and I prefer to think about ways to get people off of Medicaid than to get more people on it.”
- Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Shalimar
• “The Governor has come to recognize that we have a responsibility to help those that have no access to even primary care. My hope is my colleagues in the Florida Legislature will do the same for the little guy and gal of Florida.”
- Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey
• “The Florida Chamber congratulates Gov. Scott and the Legislature on today’s second waiver which gives our state flexibility moving forward. As Florida begins evaluating different proposals to the expansion of Medicaid, the discussion should focus on the economic benefits and the future costs to Florida. Will expanding Medicaid make Florida more competitive?”
- David Christian, Florida Chamber of Commerce’s vice president of government affairs
• “I would prefer that the governor embrace the Affordable Care Act without constraints, such as his newly proposed automatic three-year sunset of expanded Medicaid coverage. Regardless, his comments today are a step forward that I urge Republican legislative leaders to meet with action.”
- Rep. Perry Thurston, House Democratic Leader, from Plantation
• “Gov. Scott is interested in getting re-elected and has terrible poll numbers. No doubt part of this decision has to do with his wanting to get re-elected. When politicians do what they feel they must to get re-elected instead of doing what they know is right, they often lose re-election and, even when they do not, lose their way. It is a sad day for conservatives.”
- Erick Erickson, RedState.com and conservative pundit