Governor Scott just threw another wrench in the health care law. He says the state of Florida will not cover an estimated 1.1 million people who were supposed to receive benefits under national health care reform through an expansion of Medicaid.
Scott opposes the Medicaid expansion because he said it would cost an extra $1.9 billion each year. Democrats say the federal government would pay 100 percent the first couple of years, then 90 percent thereafter.
We asked the Governor to explain why he believes the state cannot afford this program if the federal government will cover most of the costs.
Here is a partial transcript of his response:
"They are not going to continue to do that forever, and as you know, every government program starts promising things, saying they going to cover everything, pay for things , give you this great coverage. Every government program in the world does the same thing. And then when they figure out they cant cover it—lets look at the federal government, they have trillion dollar deficits, as you know, they are going to have to cut spending, so my concern is that people get jobs so they can afford their own healthcare. I don't want them to become more dependent on government, when I know eventually government will not cover them, or will pay the providers so poorly that there won't be a doctor or hospital that can afford to take care of them."
Governor Scott said he will not implement the law, but also said he will comply with the law if it's not repealed. We asked him to explain how he can -not- implement a law and yet comply with it at the same time.
Also, if Florida does not start a state-run health insurance exchange (to help the uninsured buy coverage), the federal government would likely step in and start an exchange for the citizens of Florida. We asked Governor Scott if he is willing to give that much more power to the federal government by not implementing the state exchange.
Again, here is a partial transcript of the Governor's responses:
CP: If you do not start an exchange, the federal government will start and run one for us. Are you willing to give that much more power to the federal government by not implementing the exchange?
Gov. Scott: The first thing I want to focus on is repealing this law. It's going to be devastating for our patients, it's going to have taxes we can't afford, and it's going to hurt your ability to get a job. That's the biggest thing.
Now, we know that if there's an exchange created, the Congressional Budget Office says a family, it will cost them another $2,100 dollars per year. So my big focus is, let's make sure we get this law repealed, because it's going to be devastating to patients, taxpayers and jobs.
CP: If it is not repealed, is your next step then, do you implement the exchange, or leave it to the feds?
Gov. Scott: My focus is to repeal it. But we'll comply with the law if we have to, but I don't intend to do the exchange because I know its going to be bad for patients. I worry about the citizens of Florida and their ability to get cost effective health care. This is going to make it much more difficult for them to do that.
Watch the entire interview in the video player above.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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