Friday, February 22, 2013

Gov. Scott’s about-face on Medicaid is one of several changes in direction

Gov. Rick Scott swept into office on the 2010 tea party wave. He wanted to slash spending, cut taxes and kick out illegal immigrants.

But most of all, the retired health care executive — who got his start in politics by funding a group to oppose the Affordable Care Act — wanted to find a way to end Obamacare, even after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld it.

“We’re not going to implement Obamacare in Florida,” he told Fox News a few days after the high court ruling came down last summer.

But on Wednesday, Scott made an abrupt about-face, embracing a three-year expansion of Medicaid coverage for about 1 million low-income Floridians that will be paid for by the health care law.

“I think this is a common-sense solution to dealing with this for the next three years where it will give us the time to think about how we can improve the system,” he said, adding that he felt the state had an obligation to help “the poorest and weakest among us.”

Senate President Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, said: “I don’t know that I’d say the governor flip-flopped. I’d say he made a very long journey from ‘no-no-hell-no’ to ‘yes.’”

Gaetz said the Senate is still weighing the Medicaid expansion.

In the past month, Scott has barely looked like the same guy who ran for governor in 2010. He proposed the largest budget in state history and said his top priority was a $2,500 raise for teachers, whom he infuriated during his first year in office by passing a merit-pay law while cutting education spending by $1.3 billion. He hasn’t mentioned a word about an Arizona-style immigration plan in months.

And then came the Medicaid announcement and the assertion that “regardless of what I believe … this is the law of the land.”

Full article: http://www.sun-senti … 0221,0,4422103.story

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