Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s attempt to turn left on Obamacare and expand Medicaid in the state ran smack dab into a wall known as the state legislature.
On the eve of convening of the 2013 session, the House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rejected the expansion. A Senate counterpart committee postponed consideration of the issue, which is sure to be one of the biggest controversies of the session.
Scott, a Republican who bitterly fought President Barack Obama’s national healthcare plan as a candidate and in his first two years as governor, stunned conservative supporters on February 20 when he endorsed a three-year expansion of Medicaid, provided the federal government picks up the full cost for the first three years as promised.
“There’s definitely a fight between the governor and the (state) legislature over this. The Republicans in the legislature are much more fiscally conservative than his actions have shown him to be,” said Susan MacManus, a Tampa-based political scientist at the University of South Florida.
Republican legislative leaders have been openly hostile toward the plan, emphasizing that state lawmakers will make the final decision in drawing up a budget for next fiscal year.
While Democrats have pushed for full implementation of so-called “Obamacare,” the controlling Republican leadership has warned that the federal government might not keep its end of the bargain, leaving the state with a million more Medicaid recipients and reduced federal funding to cover them.
Whamo. And the only reason that the federal government might not keep its end of the bargain is because the Republicans in Congress won’t let it.
Now a complete cynic would say that Gov. Scott knew all along that expanding Medicare would be a non-starter with the gang in Tallahassee but he went through the motions to sound all moderate and stuff just so he could campaign for re-election next year by saying that he tried to help out the poor people of Florida, but gosh darn it, those folks in the state capital wouldn’t budge. But if you re-elect me, why, I’ll do my best to try, try again. C’mon, gimme another chance.
That, or he just plain got blindsided by the wingnuts up there in Lower Alabama.