By Jorge Bonilla
In a major reversal, Governor Rick Scott has now come to terms with the Department of Health and Human Services, and accepted an expansion of Florida’s Medicaid system as mandated by ObamaCare. Is this a one-off move, or a sign of softening in advance of a brutal reelection?
Florida Governor Rick Scott supports expanding Medicaid in his state under President Barack Obama’s health-care law, at least while the federal government pays for it, a reversal of the Republican’s previous position.
Scott said yesterday in Tallahassee that he’ll ask state lawmakers to back the expansion. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in June, Scott said he wouldn’t expand Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, in Florida. Once Obama won re-election in November, Scott said he was open to it.
The Bloomberg story notes that Scott is not the first Republican to roll on Medicaid expansion. However, this was the biggest of the GOP-run states to acquiesce to ObamaCare. It goes without saying that this reeks of electoral opportunism, especially after his reversal on teacher pay.
Perhaps the Governor sees this as a way to deprive Dyer/Crist/Sink et.al of that particular line of attack, which is almost certain to come given the post-2012 electoral dynamics of the state. Unfortunately, it doesn’t do him any good against a potential primary challenger…who has now been handed a gift-wrapped sledgehammer. Memo to the RGA: learn from the NRSC, and keep your powder dry.
Anyone with half a brain knows that there are no such things as temporary government programs, especially entitlements. Per the Bloomberg piece, Medicaid expansion is going to run $6.6B a year, with the state picking up about $536M of that. In light of our current financial climate, we should ask ourselves (and our legislators) the following: what happens once the feds take themselves off the hook? Scott will be long gone from Tallahassee by the time someone has to decide between increasing “revenues” or pulling the plug. At this point, it’s up to the Legislature to hold the line.
I leave you with Senate Minority Leader Chris Smith, who does a good job of channeling our sentiments today, albeit with glee instead of dismay:
Medicaid expansion, Obamacare, teacher bonuses who is this guy?
— Senator Chris Smith (@SenChrisSmith) February 21, 2013