Florida’s Republican Governor, On His “About Face” On Medicaid Expansion

The logic in favor of accepting the Medicaid expansion — in every state — is beyond serious debate.

Over 20 percent of Florida’s citizens are without insurance — and most of those are poor enough to qualify for the expansion. So, by investing a relatively small amount of their own money to cover the poor, states (red and blue) will see a massive number of additional citizens helped into affordable healthcare, via an increasee in federal Medicaid funds. For instance, by spending $6 billion over the next decade on Medicaid, Mr. Scott’s state will receive $52 billion. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that the collective incremental cost to states for expanding Medicaid is $8 billion, a 0.3 percent increase through 2022. During the same period, federal spending on Medicaid increases by $800 billion, or 21 percent. This is, obviously, more than a ten-fold return — on states’ money spent.

Simple math — and it provides basic coverage for people who most need affordable health care.

From The New York Times reporting, yesterday, then:

. . . .“While the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent of the cost, I cannot in good conscience deny Floridians that needed access to healthcare,’’ Mr. Scott said at a news conference. “We will support a three-year expansion of the Medicaid program under the new health care law as long as the federal government meets their commitment to pay 100 percent of the cost during that time.”

He said that there were “no perfect options’’ when it came to the Medicaid expansion. “To be clear: our options are either having Floridians pay to fund this program in other states while denying health care to our citizens,” he said, “or using federal funding to help some of the poorest in our state with the Medicaid program as we explore other health care reforms. . . .”

The tide is now almost certainly turning. . . in the red states. So — what’s the “over/under” line on how much longer the useful idiot Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, can hold out? How long until his fellow Texans tell him they don’t want to contribute federal tax dollars to fund Louisiana’s — or Tennessee’s — Medicaid expansion, all while not receiving any of it for themselves? How long? Two months? Six?

I’ll guess that by July 4, 2013, Mr. Perry will flip — he’ll accept the expansion under the ACA of 2010.


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