I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care, Scott said.
The chamber erupted in cheers, mostly by Democrats. Republicans sat in silence.
Shortly before Scotts speech, House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, spoke firmly in opposition to Medicaid expansion, calling it a social experiment that is doomed to fail.
I believe it crossed the line of the proper role of government, Weatherford said. Florida should not buy it.
The Republican-dominated chamber erupted in loud cheers, a day after a House committee voted 10-5 along party lines to oppose Medicaid expansion.
Democrats criticized Scott for past cuts to education, for making it harder to vote and for favoring tax breaks for corporations at the expense of the middle class.
It aint working. Its the same old stuff, said Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, mocking Scotts catch phrase. Its still take care of my friends and give them the tax breaks, while the people suffer.
She said Scott is right to favor Medicaid expansion, but that he should fight hard to make it happen. He should have set the house on fire about it and pleaded his case, she said.
Medicaid has been debated, deliberated, litigated and procrastinated, said Senate Democratic Leader Chris Smith, D-Fort Lauderdale. Now the House is poised to abdicate our role in keeping Floridians healthy.
Rep. Erik Fresen, R-Miami, praised Scotts speech for its analysis of the economy but cast doubt on the across-the-board pay raise for teachers.
Is the methodology that the governor is proposing going to be the outcome? Probably not, said Fresen, who chairs the House educating funding subcommittee.
Rep. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, said times arent as good as Scott made them sound.
I respectfully disagree with him, Fasano said. People are still struggling back home.
Outside the House chamber, dozens of college students, calling themselves the Dream Defenders, peacefully demonstrated against racial injustice and economic inequality. Senators had to walk past them to attend the joint session in the House chamber.
First Lady Ann Scott attended the speech, as did the couples two daughters, Allison and Jordan, who are both pregnant, their son-in-law, Jeremy, and 15-month-old grandson Auguste.
I love being a grandpa, Scott said.
Herald/Times staff writers Mary Ellen Klas, Rochelle Koff, Tia Mitchell and Michael Van Sickler contributed to this report.