ObamaCare Opponent Rick Scott to Proceed With Health Law's Medicaid Expansion in Florida


Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter.com / CC BY-SA

Late this afternoon, Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that his administration would proceed with an expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. It's a dramatic reversal for Scott, a former health care executive and outspoken opponent of ObamaCare who spent an estimated $5 million of his own money trying to stop the health law before it was passed.

It's also a reversal from what he promised his own advisers, says Michael Cannon, a Cato Institute health policy analyst who served on the health care task force for Governor Scott's gubernatorial transition team.

During the transition period, Cannon says he "pushed hard" for the health care task force to recommend that Scott not implement any part of ObamaCare. When the time came to make that recommendation directly to Scott, Cannon says it didn't require a hard sell. Scott quickly declared that he had no plans to implement any part of the health law in Florida. "I didn't even have to make the pitch. He was already on board," Cannon tells me. "That makes this an even more dramatic flip-flop."

In the years since serving on Scott's transition team, Cannon has continued to argue that states should refuse to implement any part of ObamaCare. And he thinks Scott has made a big mistake.

"He knows that it's going to cost his state $20 billion over the first 10 years. He knows it will add three million people to the Medicaid rolls, and that it will expand the constituency for higher taxes and more government. And yet he's still doing it," says Cannon.

So why did Scott fold? Cannon suggests that the governor is "doing it because he thinks it will help him get reelected."

But there may be a more immediate payoff. On Wednesday, Scott was granted a long-pending request for a Medicaid waiver up for approval with the Obama administration. With the waiver approved, the governor can shift large portions of the state's Medicaid population into privately run Medicaid "managed care" plans.

"There's been speculation that he's doing it in a tit for tat with the administration," Cannon says. "If they approve his Medicaid waiver he'll drop his opposition to the Medicaid expansion. But if that's the case, then his Medicaid waiver would move everyone into managed care, which economists have shown increases enrollment and increases spending. So if he made a deal, the deal was: He'd support their Medicaid expansion if they'd support his Medicaid expansion."

Governor Scott has previously warned that Medicaid is growing faster than the state can pay for it. "Revenues are growing because our economy is getting better, but Medicaid is growing faster," he said in 2011.

Florida led the Supreme Court challenge to ObamaCare, and Scott is arguably one of the law's most prominent elected critics. So could Scott's decision prove a bellwether, to be followed by other holdout states deciding to proceed with the Medicaid expansion? Cannon doesn't think so. "A lot of states are looking at this and saying 'we don't have the money,'" he says. "What one governor does is not going to change that."

More from Cannon on Scott's flip-flop at Cato's blog here

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18 responses to “ObamaCare Opponent Rick Scott to Proceed With Health Law's Medicaid Expansion in Florida

  1. “Scott says he still opposes having Florida create a health insurance Exchange. Then again, he said the same thing about the Medicaid expansion. So in addition to whatever other damage his flip-flop does, he has squandered his credibility as an opponent of ObamaCare.”

    Whatever Scott says matters not; one more lying sack of shit.

  2. I’m so sick of watching the country circle the drain.

    I know it’s happening in slow motion, but it really is going down the fuckin’ drain.

    1. This. Getting more people on government-run health care is a classic ratchet effect: you can never get them off again, until they die. And when they do die, it’s the fault of those evil people who have prevented us from spending even more money.

      1. Yeah, you can’t undo this shit.

        1. Oh yes you can. I heard other states started dumping people off the rolls after the scrotus decision on Ocare said they couldn’t use Medicare as leverage.

          1. You may see a step forward every four or five steps back, but we’re not about to change the general direction any time soon.

            I used to hope we would get rid of Social Security and Medicare in my lifetime. I was hoping maybe someday we’d get rid of the income tax…

            Those things seem tame now compared to some of the permanent shit that’s been heaped on us since. The parasites won’t stop feeding on the rest of us until the whole country is like Detroit–until there’s nothing left to feed on. The big trend isn’t about to reverse itself any time soon. For most people, or so it seems to me, taking care of yourself has almost become unimaginable.

            I tell people I worked my way through boarding school, and they look at me like I’m from outer space. Both my parents and two of my grandparents did the same thing–at the same school. Being a parasite didn’t used to be normal. Not being a parasite has come to seem unimaginable to most people.

            Now the taxpayers owe everybody healthcare.


  3. The Supreme Court had the opportunity to kill this unconstitutional mess but instead decided to make up new substantive powers for the federal government.

    The states acted like they were going to take steps to kill it, but they’re caving, one by one. Scott has frankly shocked me, as this is the kind of thing he’s been tough on, not to mention that he knows more than any other governor what bullshit this all is.

    1. Yeah, I see no reason to expect the Supreme Court to get anything right.

      Our only hope may be to convince people that the government is hopeless.

      I’m trying to imagine what might reignite what little faith I had in politics.

      Maybe if Rand Paul won the Republican nomination? Even then, the best he could do–even if he won office–would be to try to keep things from getting too much worse for a few years.

    2. If SCOTUS had thrown this out, BHO would’ve run against the Court.

      It’s likely he would’ve killed Mittens in 11/2012.

      Then the RINOs would bitch and moan about how the extremist SCOTUS lost the WH for the GOP.

      Overall, yeah, they should’ve at least killed the individual mandate.

      1. So? Obamacare is a sucking chest wound. It’s the deathblow to any kind of limited government.

  4. will he get a primary challenger?

    1. It isn’t the politicians. You can change the faces. It probably wouldn’t matter too much on stuff like Medicaid.

      The problem there is the people of Florida (and the American people).

      That’s the real source of our problems. We’ve gotten to the point where the Worst Generation has moved up the ladder, and they’re now running most of everything.

      Baby-boomers are force for evil. They’re destroying the country.

  5. +1 internets for the alt text.

    I drifted away from fark, mostly spending more time here. Plus I can get the weird news from the AM/PM links usually a day before fark does.

    Every now and then I check back for shits and grins. I’m amazed at how statist it is. It only ever had a little libertarian stuff here and there, but now it’s downright hostile to libertarians.

    “I don’t think the president has the power to order assassinations of american citizens.”

    (dramatic re-enactment)

  6. “Scott was granted a long-pending request for a Medicaid waiver up for approval with the Obama administration. ”

    Government by waiver – isn’t it grand? Nothing like arbitrary power.

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  8. So why did Scott fold? Cannon suggests that the governor is “doing it because he thinks it will help him get reelected.”

    Free stuff.

  9. Almost as disappointing as Arnold Schwarzenegger in Cal-i-forn-ia ? but not quite as predictable in Scott’s case. There was some reason to hope someone who actually worked in the health care field would not cave.

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