The Cost of Medicaid Refusal

By: Troy Kinsey Email
By: Troy Kinsey Email

Tallahassee, Florida- August 3, 2012

Governor Rick Scott launched his political career on a pledge to defeat what he calls 'Obamacare.'

Even though most of the health care reform law's been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court, the governor has the final word on the president's call to expand medicaid.

"I'm not going to put our citizens at risk of a program that doesn't work. So, we're not going to implement this Medicaid expansion," said Scott.

An expansion that would cover one million Floridians who are too poor to afford private insurance.

The cost to state taxpayers, almost two billion dollars a year.

Take a closer look, and you'll find the governor's projection of a massive taxpayer expense could be wrong.

In fact, the independent congressional budget office finds not expanding medicaid could actually cost taxpayers more, and that could put political pressure on Scott.

Those one million Floridians will still be required to buy low-cost health coverage on a federally-subsidized insurance exchange.

Only there, the report calculates taxpayers will be spending three thousand dollars more per policy than they would under medicaid.

Pediatrician Louis Saint Petery has been trying to convince the governor he isn't being the steward of taxpayer dollars he campaigned to be, to no avail.

"Medicaid expansion just makes a whole lot more financial sense. For those who are eligible, it's cheaper than the exchanges, the federal government's paying 100 percent of the costs initially, and by 2020 it drops to 90 percent of the costs. That's still a good bargain," said Saint Petery.

But tell that to Governor Scott, who says he has an obligation to protect Florida taxpayers, even if they're about to send more money to Washington.

As the health care law was being crafted in 2009, Governor Scott, who was then a health care executive, founded the group 'Conservatives for Patients' Rights'.

That helped him gain popularity amoung the Tea Party - a force that helped catapult him to the Governor's Mansion in 2010.

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