Despite being a vocal critic of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (i.e. “Obamacare”), Florida Gov. Rick Scott announced Wednesday that he supports the Medicaid expansion in President Obama’s landmark healthcare law.
"While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost of new people in Medicaid, I cannot, in good conscience, deny the uninsured access to care," he told reporters Wednesday.
Should he get his way, that is, should the state Legislature agree to said expansion, the Republican governor will “singlehandedly add 1.3 million people to the Obamacare coverage expansion,” the Washington Post’s Sarah Kliff notes.
Gov. Scott explained that Florida will only accept federal funds to expand Medicaid for three years, at which point state lawmakers would have to reauthorize the law.
Of course, once the law is in place and millions are enrolled in the program, what’s the likelihood state lawmakers will vote to back out of the program?
The Republican governor also said that if the feds back off their commitment to fund the program, the state would back out.
However, let’s say the feds back off their commitment to fund the program by 10 percent. Does anyone really believe Florida’s lawmakers will back out of the program?
“Scott isn't the first high-profile GOP governor to accept the Medicaid expansion, but he's arguably the biggest get for the Obama administration. Florida led the 26-state lawsuit that said the entire healthcare law -- specifically including its Medicaid expansion -- was unconstitutional,” The Hill notes.
Needless to say, Gov. Scott’s announcement is a major about-face.
"This would be devastating … this is an expansion that just doesn't make any sense," the Republican governor said in a 2012 interview with Fox News.
Rick Scott earns spot on the Obamacare Wall of Shame next to Ben Nelson, Bart Stupak, John Roberts, et al
— Philip Klein (@philipaklein) February 20, 2013
Of course, to be fair, Scott isn't the only Republican governor to back the Medicaid expansion in the president’s healthcare law.
“Scott is the seventh GOP governor to accept the Medicaid expansion. Other high-profile members of that group include Arizona's Jan Brewer, Ohio's John Kasich and Michigan's Rick Snyder,” The Hill notes.
The Supreme Court's healthcare decision, you may recall, made the Medicaid expansion optional for states.
Here are Gov. Scott's remarks in full:
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