Gov. Rick Scott's vocal support for Medicaid expansion is waning. (Photo via

Gov. Rick Scott’s vocal support for Medicaid expansion is waning. (Photo via

By Ashley Lopez
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Earlier this year, Gov. Rick Scott said during the announcement of his budget priorities for the year that he supported expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act in Florida.

After that, Scott did little to make the expansion happen and the Florida Legislature quickly turned down the federal money—leaving almost a million Floridians without health insurance.

Now, Scott is doing even less and has stopped voicing his support for Medicaid expansion when asked about it.

The Tampa Bay Times reported last week that:

Gov. Rick Scott refused Wednesday to say whether he still supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to more uninsured and poor Floridians, an issue Democrats are certain to stress during his re-election campaign next year.

Appearing at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute on Wednesday, Scott for the second time this week publicly dodged questions about his position on expanding Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. Though Scott surprised many observers by endorsing expansion earlier this year, he also was criticized for failing to press House Republicans to accept the plan.

On Wednesday, Scott responded to a question about Medicaid expansion by talking about people whose private insurance plans were canceled due to new coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

“Everybody is worried about the politics of the law,” he said. “Here’s my concern: It’s going to impact the cost of health care, the quality of health care and access to health care. Have a great day.”

He turned away as a reporter asked about the 800,000 Floridians who are too poor to qualify for subsidized insurance under the federal law, yet can’t qualify for Medicaid.

According to The Tampa Tribune:

Asked by reporters in Tampa on Wednesday whether he still thinks the state should accept the federal funding available … to expand the program, Scott didn’t answer and criticized the law instead.

Scott said 300,000 Floridians will have their health insurance policies canceled at the end of this year — even though the insurer involved, Florida Blue, has announced there will be no cancellations.

“Here’s our concern about the president’s health care law,” he said. “We have 300,000 people in our state that have been told they are going to lose their insurance at the end of the year. We don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know if they’re going to get it. We don’t know what the costs are going to be.

Scott gave essentially the same answer in Tallahassee on Tuesday, saying policies will be canceled and, “That’s the biggest issue we’re dealing with right now.”

Asked Wednesday whether Scott still favors Medicaid expansion, spokeswoman Jackie Schutz said, “Last year the governor laid out what he supported.”

As the 2014 election nears, Medicaid expansion in Florida has gotten increasingly less likely.

A few weeks ago, there were reports that the Florida Legislature was “secretly” working out a deal to accept the billions in federal funds that would pay for the expansion. However, lawmakers denied the closed-door brokering was taking place.

In fact, most experts said the likelihood of Medicaid expansion in Florida remains slim.

If Florida doesn’t expand Medicaid, many of the state’s poorest residents will be left out of the Affordable Care Act, which was created to expand insurance to almost everyone who doesn’t currently have health insurance.

On top of that, the law also phases out funding for hospitals that treat people without insurance. If the state does not accept the Medicaid dollars, it could level a serious financial blow to many of the states’ hospitals.

Most recently, a report found that since Florida taxpayers will be paying taxes toward Medicaid expansion around the country, not accepting these federal funds means taxpayers will see a $5 billion net loss in the state.

However, GOP leaders in the Florida House remain opposed to expanding the money.

Republicans in the Florida Senate have stood behind a plan created by Republican state Sen. Joe Negron that accepts the federal funds. Under his plan, the money would be spent to buy private insurance for everyone that qualifies for Medicaid under the expansion.

In the Florida House, however, Republican members have said even that plan is too uncertain. GOP members have said they don’t trust any plan tied to the Affordable Care Act, which they have said is a fundamentally flawed law.



12 Responses

  1. Cindy L

    I have a blood disease that if left untreated, will result in death.
    I have been denied for SSI, SSD and State medicaid.
    I do not have health insurance and was terminated from my job in 9/2012.

    I have not been able to get any financial assistance to be able to see the specialists I need, and treatment that I need to stay alive.
    So I guess what our Florida representative are saying is that they do not care about FL residents (over 35 years)nor the older people (60 yrs)and the fact that I have worked in FL alone for over 35 years (worked over 40 yrs total) ??

    Just let us die???
    I will definitely not vote for any FL representative who has abandoned us and left us out in the cold and who refuses to accept the federal funding that will allow the poverty stricken people in the state of FL to just “die”

  2. Cindy L

    This is a revision to the previous comment by Cindy L

    I will definitely not vote for any FL representative who has abandoned us and left us out in the cold and who refuses to accept the federal funding that would financially assist the poverty stricken people in the state of FL who have medical conditions/needs which require immediate attention.

  3. Gregg

    I think it is pathetic those with more money that they could count, are those that get away with taking even more money from those of us can count, but have absolutely nothing to count.

    It seems to me that the Republicans are doing everything humanly (not humanely) possible to destroy any “real” opportunities for change in this country. In my opinion, even if the “Affordable Healthcare Act” is not “perfect”, it certainly is moving this country in the right direction. Everyone wants change, but so few want to “actually” change!

    Who do those people in Tallahassee think they are by turning down Federal money AGAIN? Remember the new train system that Obama wanted to help Florida pay for?

    The line between the “have’s” and the “have-nots” is growing wider by the minute.

  4. Allie

    The 2014 election will be here in no time and Dems campaign headquarters need to bombard the airwaves with ads urging those who are still uninsured, due to the Republican Florida legislature being greedy, heartless, political corporate puppets, to vote out every last Republican who is running for office. Florida’s uninsured need to show up in droves come election day and vote out those whose selfish agendas are depriving desperate families of their right to health care!!!

  5. jason

    Well this goes to show you that scott doesn’t wanna help anyone but his pockets.
    People need this expansion like me i can’t pay for regular insurance and at the current time i don’t qualify for medicaid..
    With this expansion i would qualify for medicaid, and get health coverage i desperatley need..
    But it seems like with the ombama refferal service/ aka obamacare they think everyone can afford insurance with thousands of dollars of copay attached to it..

  6. Emmie

    Rick Scott is a sad excuse for a human being! I was outraged when I heard of him taking away music from schools, but now I understand he is just a greedy & heartless waste of oxygen.

    Obamacare certainly has some flaws, however, the expansion of Medicaid would have made it run a little smoother for some of us.

    I’m too poor to afford help with paying for an insurance plan, my income states I am eligible for Medicaid, but it’s unavailable in Florida due to Medicaid not being expanded. I looked on the Marketplace and I don’t even have a way to pay for the plans they offer. So I literally have no options.

    Some of us have conditions like asthma and allergies, which are ongoing illnesses that make us sick seasonally, sometimes even severely. Where am I supposed to purchase an inhaler when I’m ill? Inhalers require prescriptions. I have no choice but to wait for a severe enough asthma attack and go to the Emergency Room as a last resort, and then have Doctors and Nurses angry at me for wasting their time.

    I’m at my wits end. I broke down and just cried the other day, I don’t even know what I can do.

    Thanks a lot, Governor Rick Scott!

  7. Anonymous

    Cindy L,
    I agree. They don’t care what’s wrong w u or if u die. While I was waiting for Social Security they took my kids n gave them to my ex husband bc I was in the hospital a few times, has a few surgeries, n several dr appts. My ex wasn’t around to help me w them n I took care of them bc he was either in jail or running the streets. When I filed for divorce they gave him my kids. They did it bc while I was waiting for Social Security I was getting State disability n Medicaid. It’s a form of welfare, but when I got my Social Security I paid back every penny I got. Bc they took my kids they took Medicaid away from me. I could no longer get medical care. I had no money n was living w my sister. I found a dr who was kind enough to take me n at least RX me my pain meds n treatment meds that I had to pay for out of pocket. I proved I never overused, abused, or sold my pain meds. They tried to use me tsking pain meds against me. Yet they put my kids in foster care w my ex’s aunt. She was RXed the same exact med, same strength, same amount. The difference btwn us, she didn’t take them. Her n my ex sold the pills right in front of my kids. 1 of my boys, who was 10 at the time witnessed it n told the DCF worker. She pulled him out of her care n put him w my brother. They left my 6&3 yr olds w them. They then turned around n gave me my 2 oldest boys back n gave my 2 youngest to my ex. The DCF warrant says they were taken bc I “Exposed them to a drunken environment w a man who couldn’t even stay sober enough to take care of himself of children.” He was in substance abuse classes when the put my kids in foster care w him. They paid for all of his treatment n requirements he had to do for them. I had to pay for mine out of pocket. I was lucky enough to get help n borrow the money n did everything I was told to do. I was sick bc I needed surgery bc I have a rare disease that causes bleeding ulcers in my bladder n constant kidney stones(at least 3+ at a time). I left a very sbusive relationship, which I have proof of n the punished me by tsking my kids, my medical, n my only source of income for no reason n gave my kids to a proven major alcoholic who was always in jail for not paying support on his other 3 cases(5 kids) n gave him Medicaid. I developed an infection in 1 of my ulcers n almost died. WTF is wrong w our government when they take kids, medical, n state disability from a disabled person n give them to sn sbusive drunk??? They don’t care what wrong w u. Medical insurance should be given to everyone. Medicaid to be given to everyone who can’t afford medical insurance. My sister works her @$$ off n requires medicine n medical care n has to pay share of cost b4 getting her Medicaid turned on. But ppl can sit on welfare w kids n not have share of cost n get Medicaid. She’s now applying for Obamacare. But b4 Obamacare she had to go to the ER every mon to turn on her Medicaid. Share of cost is costing the state more money bc ppl r loading the ER at the beginning of every mon to get insurance. These r ppl who r working. The problem w share of cost is that her dr won’t see her every mon until they turn on her Medicaid. So she has to go to the ER bc they can’t turn u away. This makes no sense. How come the drs won’t see ppl until it’s turned on. Florida is the only state I’ve ever heard of that has share of cost. She lived in another state n moved back to Florida 5yrs ago. She lived there 7yrs n they didn’t have it when she moved. Her kids r on Medicaid. Can she apply for Obamacare for herself n keep the kids on Medicaid? She works full time for minimum wage n can’t afford to pay for the whole family. As for me, I’m still fighting for my kids. My dr has my medical condition under control. My ex pay 1/2 his check to child support n I don’t have to pay him child support bc I’m on SSI. I became disabled at a very young age n my SSD was just under the SSI limit. I didn’t get a penny from him for 6yrs n the other 3 women(5 kids. He has 10 in all, but 2 mothers don’t go after him), so no, I don’t feel guilty for not paying him support. Sorry to go off subject, but this DOES deal w Medicaid n government abuse. I left him bc I told me in detail how he was going to get life insurance on me n kill me n mske it look like my health to pay his child support bc he goes for 9mons at a time n thought he was gonna get a check for my kids to pay his debt to keep himself out of jail for children u r paying for bc their moms had to get welfare n food stamps . With SSD u get a check n w SSI u don’t or support. HERE’S WHAT’S GONNA GET U ALL ANGRY….. He’s quitting his job n using my kids to get on welfare bc he sick of paying 1/2 his check to kids he made. While u r on welfare u don’t have to pay child support. Talk about government abuse n they r letting him get away w it bc he lives in a small town n is childhood friends w the chief of police, the referee that gave me custody tragically died n his lawyer’s partner is now the referee, n he paid a worker at CPS to take my kids. Yes, it happens. I’ve been told by Volusia county thst I’m 1 of the best parent they’ve ever seen w my boys n they even see the corruption in the paperwork, but can’t do anything bc he lives in another state that he grew up in. So here ppl who r really sick n can’t get insurance, like I couldn’t, but a deadbeat dad can quit his job n use my kids to take your tax money to keep from paying support.. So much is wrong w our government. My son is autistic n he refuses to get him treatment, but u can pay for him to have him n my daughter. I have a webpage called “Justice for Leah and Trenton. Bring them home to Florida.” I haven’t updated that he quit his job n is on welfare so he doesn’t have to pay support. Plz feel free to join to stop deadbeats like him. Ppl like Cindy n others that have severe medical problems should be getting Medicaid, not a man who uses to kids n your taxes to get out of paying support. Sorry for the long post, but this is outrageous!!!! Who would u rather pay for to get help w medical bills?????

  8. Anonymous

    PLEASE READ ABOVE /BELOW. POST FROM ANONYMOUS!!!!! PPL WHO R SICK CANT’T GET HELP W MEDICAID N PPL WHO WORK CAN’T AFFORD THEIR HIGH SHARE OF COST, BUT PPL WHO CAN WORK CHOOSE NOT TO N DON’T HAVE TO PAY FOR MEDICAID. ALSO A DEADBEAT DAD CAN QUIT HIS JOB N USE 2 KIDS HE STOLE FROM THE MOTHER HE ABUSED N QUIT HIS JOB SO HE DOESN’T HAVE TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT ON 3 OTHER CASES. U DON’T HAVE TO PAY SUPPORT. SO YOUR TAXES CAN PAY FOR AN ABUSIVE ALCOHOLIC WHO TIRED OF 1/2 HIS CHECK GOING TO CHILD SUPPORT. IF HE DOESN’T PAY HE GOES TO JAIL FOR 9MONS AT A TIME. Who would u rather pay for???? A person who desperately needs medical care n doesn’t qualify for Medicaid under their standards n rules or a deadbeat using n a busing 2 kids so he doesn’t have to pay support???? The state turns their back on his abuse towards the children. I went to jail for kidnapping when they refused to go back to him bc he hurts them.trying to protect them.i was facing 10yrs-life for each child for this man who tried getting life insurance on me n killing me to stay out of jail. I spent 60 days in jail. We need to stop this from happening. Men r taking kids from the mothers they’ve abused so they don’t have to pay support n r using them so they don’t have to pay for other cases n our government is allowing it. There’s ppl out there who need medical n there’s ppl out there abusing the system n getting away w it while ppl needing help die 🙁

  9. Eddie C.

    Florida Share of Cost is an ignorant shameful nightmare. I’m a 48 year old, well educated, hard working American who was between jobs after a sad divorce last year. I became very sick and was diagnosed with a terminal disease. I wasn’t expected to leave the hospital alive but I did. I went straight into Hospice care with a life expectancy of 30 days or less. I beat those odds and 6 months later voluntarily left Hospice under Medicaid. I am terminally ill with no cure and am now on Social Security Disability. Although I can never get better and I’m considered “Terminal”, I am stable. The doctors say I can go back to work after October if I wish and I plan on it. I was going to get by fine on my $2300 SSD until then but the ignorant or corrupt or evil or all-of-the-above FL politicians have turned down the Federal Medicaid funds, that I contributed to over the years, and now want me to pay up to $2100 of my $2300 SSD, that I also contributed to over the years, on my medical bills? Leaving $200 to live on? Really??? Are the politicians that ignorant of what they have created??? They must not understand or care that almost every young/middle aged voter in Florida on Medicaid who has over $200 of any income is now in this “Share of Cost” hell hole that they dug. The incompetent FL politicians have forced me into one of 2 distasteful but personally smart financial choices. Either run up my medical bills frivolously over $2100 each month so that “share of cost” is reached and I can use my SSD money to live on (as it was intended) or I can go back into Hospice home care and get full Medicaid. Either way costs the Florida Government (actually the people) much more medical costs than if they had just kept me on Medicaid to use only when needed for my condition. This is just financial insanity on the part of the FL politicians. Other states that accepted OUR Medicaid money back do not have this problem. My sister lives in Washington and they don’t have this nightmare. Putting political goals above the well being of the people? Write letters and VOTE THEM ALL OUT OF OFFICE in shame. I’ll get by but I feel sorry for those who do not have the ability or means to understand all of this. I’m an Engineer and it took me a few months to figure out all of this garbage. Best wishes to all and be kind.

    PS. As an Engineer, we try to offer solutions to a problem rather than just pointing out problems so here is an idea. FL, accept the Medicaid money back from the Federal Govt. (as intended) that the FL citizens paid/pay into and add an easy to understand simple Medicaid $50 deductible for doctor visits and a $100 Medicaid deductible for E/R. Can’t afford even that? I’m sure churches/kind people/understanding doctors would help with 50/100 if it was legitimate. I know I would help someone out with some from my $2300 right now. This small deductible would discourage the many frivolous visits from the past (nurses and doctors have told me of this complaint about Medicaid) and would not encourage financial waste and bureaucratic nightmares. Simple, good for the people, and an electable Platform Plank? Sadly, when I go back to work, I may choose to move to another state out of pure political disgust. With a nice long shower to get the stench of this FL political garbage off of me.

  10. Annie B.

    People this is exactly what happens when people do not vote !! Its the people that need it the most ; that do not go to local voting ; and we end up with a Republican Governor in a Democratic run country. Now look. We are all going to suffer because this guy doesnt like what the Federal Govt. Is doing. I blame everyone out there that did not vote for this problem ; because I dont know about you ; but to me ; this was common sense that said this would eventually happen.


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