Gov. Rick Scott: Florida Won't Implement Medicaid Expansion of Obamacare
Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walte
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells Newsmax he will refuse to implement provisions of Obamacare despite the Supreme Court’s ruling because the healthcare overhaul will be “devastating” to Florida families and taxpayers.
The first-term Republican, who headed a healthcare corporation before running for office, also says the November election is going to be all about repealing the healthcare legislation, adding that “if we care about jobs, we have to repeal Obamacare.”
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Scott says he is “disappointed” that the Supreme Court did not declare Obamacare unconstitutional.”
“It’s going to be devastating for our families that need care, it’s going to be devastating for taxpayers, and it’s going to kill jobs,” he declares.
“I’m very hopeful that this will be repealed and I’m going to make sure, as much as I can, that it doesn’t adversely impact Floridians. We have a very good safety net for our citizens. We need more jobs, not more government involvement in our lives.”
Scott stated recently that Florida will not expand Medicaid to include more recipients nor set up healthcare insurance exchanges in the state.
He explains: “First off, if you look at a government program [elsewhere] in the world, it promises it’s going to cover everything, then immediately runs out of money and starts rationing care by underpaying providers, hospitals, doctors, and so then you don’t have access to care. That’s exactly what Obamacare will do.
“This Medicaid expansion – we’re not going to implement that because what it’s going to actually do is reduce jobs in our state. It’s going to cost our taxpayers significant amounts of money. The Medicaid expansion in our state will cost 1.9 billion dollars.
“In the beginning it will be funded by the federal government, but over time they’ll have us, the state taxpayers, pay more and more of it. And remember it’s our federal taxes that pay for this.”
Scott disagrees with the assertion that the state would be smart to accept federal funding and expand Medicaid.
“All it’s going to do is make more individuals dependent on a program that ultimately will not be able to provide the care that people will rely on. It’s exactly what’s happened with Medicaid. We’re struggling right now to be able to afford our K-12 education system because Medicaid has been growing in our state at three-and-a-half times our general revenue.
“So if you care about education in our state, you don’t want me to do this. If you’re a taxpayer, you know you don’t want me to do this. And if you’re a business that has to pay these taxes, you say, ‘Look, I’m competing in the global marketplace and the higher my costs go, there’s going to be less jobs for Floridians because my customers care about cost.’”
As for Scott’s intention not to establish healthcare exchanges in his state, he tells Newsmax; “What’s in my control is we’re not going do it at the state level because I know it’s going to raise the cost of healthcare for Floridians.”
“The Congressional Budget Office says these exchanges will increase the cost for a family for their health insurance if they buy it by $2,100 a year. Our families can’t afford that.
“These exchanges are going to allow the federal government to dictate what kind of insurance is sold. They will make sure that it’s a policy you can’t afford because it will cover a lot of things you might not want to buy. You should have the choice.
“We could fix healthcare if we wanted to. We would say, make sure that all providers post their prices so you, as a consumer, know what things cost. Make sure there’s more competition. As we know in business, with competition prices come down, quality goes up.
“If you’re worried about pre-existing conditions, give the individual the same tax breaks as an employer so when you change jobs, you don’t lose your health insurance just like you don’t lose your life insurance if you have your own policy.
“And finally, reward people for doing the right thing. Don’t smoke, exercise, eat right. If we do all these things, the cost of healthcare will go down. That’s the issue we’re dealing with. This is an insurance solution, not a cost of healthcare solution.”
Scott says he “absolutely” has the support of Floridians for his stance on Obamacare.
“They know that we don’t want a federal program that’s going to ration care. We don’t want a federal program that’s going to raise our taxes to levels that we would not be able to afford. We don’t want a federal program that’s going to kill jobs.
“Just like my election in 2010, it’s going to be about jobs. We need more jobs. This is going to be the biggest jobs killer ever.”
Governors in other states, he adds, “are coming to the same conclusion. Their taxpayers can’t afford it. It’s bad for the citizens of their state, for anybody that cares about the healthcare of the citizens of their state, for jobs in their state. So other governors are making similar decisions.”
Obamacare is scheduled to be fully implemented in 2014, meaning this year’s election is the last chance to repeal it before it takes effect.
“President Obama is committed to implementing this law,” Scott says. “I’m going to use my best efforts to make sure it gets repealed.
“The most important thing we have to do is look at these elections and understand that elections have consequences. The election this fall is going to be about jobs and it’s going to be about repealing Obamacare. If we care about jobs, we have to repeal Obamacare.
“We already have trillion-dollar federal deficits. Who’s going to pay for this unbelievable expansion? As the Supreme Court said, this is a significant tax. This is one of the biggest tax increases in the history of our country. Everyone is going to have to pay for this.
“It’s a big tax increase, but more importantly, it’s going to have a significant impact on your ability to get the healthcare that you deserve.”
In his Newsmax interview, Scott also discusses the legal tug-of-war between his state and the federal government over efforts to remove ineligible Florida voters from the rolls, and predicts that the Sunshine State will “go red” and vote Republican in November.