Health | WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Scott’s Budget Excludes Obamacare Options

By: Whitney Ray Email
By: Whitney Ray Email

Tallahassee, FL - On the campaign trail Governor Rick Scott ran as a Tallahassee outsider, a darling of the Tea Party. But that was 2010. Now, Scott is proposing the largest budget in Florida history.

“Our Florida’s Family First Budget is 74.2 billion dollars,” said Scott at his budget unveiling Thursday.

It’s full of teacher raises and merit increases for state workers.

“There will always be more worthy causes for government spending than funding available to support them,” said Scott.

But Scott has to draw the line somewhere and that somewhere appears to be Obamacare.

“There is still the question of the optional expansion of the state’s Medicaid program which was left up to us by the Supreme Court. Today is not the day for that decision,” said Scott.

The federal government is offering to pay 90 percent of the expansion and Florida’s cost over the next decade could be as low as a billion dollars, but Scott left it out of his budget, while legislative leaders continue to crunch the numbers.

Democrats say the governor and Republican lawmakers are dragging their feet.

“Thus far we’ve talked about the cost of Medicaid expansion without talking about the benefit side of it, which seems impractical,” said Senate Minority Leaders Chris Smith.

While the partisan bickering continues, 900-thousand Floridians who would be covered under the expansion are watching Tallahassee waiting on the outcome.

Legislative leaders may move forward with a Medicaid expansion without the governor’s consent but then Scott could veto it. But if lawmakers decide against the expansion, Scott wouldn’t have a say-so in the expansion.


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