Governor Scott Agrees to Temporarily Expand Medicaid

Welcome to FloridaThe Governor of Florida, Rick Scott, has decided to expand Medicaid in his state. However, this comes with some stipulations. He is only interested in the expanded program for the three years in which the federal government will pay for 100% of it. The Florida legislature also must approve of the expansion in order for it to happen.

The federal government offers states funding that is to be used to expand their Medicaid programs. It is part of the Affordable Care Act. When the Supreme Court heard the case about the Affordable Care Act, it decided that states cannot be required to expand their Medicaid programs.

Instead, they are given a choice. A state can choose to accept funding to expand Medicaid. If they do, then they must use the funding to expand their Medicaid program. Or, a state can choose to not expand Medicaid – and not receive the funding.

Here’s a quick description of what happens next, (for states that choose to expand Medicaid). The federal government picks up the entire cost – 100% – of the expansion for three years. After that, the funding provided by the federal government will phase down to 90%. The expansion will cover all adults (instead of only parents or women who are pregnant as the program does now) whose income is at or below 133% of the federal poverty level.

Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has agreed to expand Florida’s Medicaid program. However, he only agreed to do this with certain stipulations.

First, Governor Scott is only interested in expanding Medicaid for the first three years, when the federal government will be paying 100% of it. He has said that he supports legislation that “would sunset after three years and need to be reauthorized”. Governor Scott only agreed to this after the federal government agreed to grant Florida a waiver that would allow for the privatization of Medicaid in the state.

According to CNN, Governor Scott said:

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. We will support a three-year expansion of our Medicaid program under the new healthcare law, as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during this time.

The governor also points out that this decision does not mean he has “surrendered to government-run healthcare”. Instead, it is because he felt that if he did not take the federal funding that it would mean that the federal taxes that come from people who live in Florida would be used to provide Medicaid coverage to people in other states, while the uninsured people who live in Florida receive no benefit.

Image by DonkeyHotey on Flickr

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