Rick Scott Joins Other GOP Governors in Approving Obama's Medicaid Expansion

Kevin Glass

2/20/2013 5:38:00 PM - Kevin Glass
Florida Governor Rick Scott today announced that he'd be participating in the federal expansion of Medicaid that was included in Obamacare. Rick Scott's administration was one of the original states to sue the Obama Administration in the wake of Obamacare, arguing that key provisions of the law were unconstitutional impositions on the states.

Florida's legal argument against Obamacare rested specifically on the Medicaid expansion, arguing that the federal government's threat to withhold all federal funding if a state did not participate in the expansion was an unlawful condition of the law. Governor Scott and Flordia won their case against the Supreme Court, which makes it somewhat surprising that Gov. Scott would turn around and volunteer to participate.

Scott opened with the story of the recent passing of his mother and returned to that emotional moment again later in his remarks. "Losing someone so close to you," Scott said, "puts everything into perspective. Especially big decisions... [I] thought about my mother's struggles raising five children with very little money. My mom was a proud woman who wanted to make it on her own without any help. But how would she have felt if she was denied help that she'd already paid for?"

"While the federal government is committed to paying 100% of the cost, I cannot in good conscience deny Floridians access to health care coverage."

One of the fears that some conservatives have had is that the federal government would in the future renege on its commitment to paying for the cost expansion, leaving the states in the situation of denying care to residents who had come to expect it. For that reason, Scott said he will only support a three-year approval of the Medicaid expansion, with a mandatory sunset so that Florida could "reassess" the policy.

Scott is the fifth GOP governor to accept the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, joining Governors Brewer (Ariz.), Martinez (N.M.), Sandoval (Nev.), and, just earlier this week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

In his announcement earlier this week, Kasich used an emotional argument to implore the rest of his fellow Republicans to take the expansion.

Kasich used his third State of the State speech as governor to implore lawmakers in his own Republican Party to “examine your conscience” as they consider his proposed expansion of Medicaid.

“I know it’s controversial,” Kasich said, before he called out a Republican representative by name. “We’re not ignoring the weak. Jim Buchy (of Greenville), the Lord doesn’t want us to ignore them.”

19 states so far have declined to participate in the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.