For the second time since he became Governor of Florida, Rick Scott has flip-flopped on his position regarding Medicaid expansion in the state. Florida Governor Rick Scott campaigned as an anti-Obamacare crusader in 2010.
However, in February 2013, facing re-election in 2014, Scott reversed course and came out in favor of accepting Medicaid expansion for Florida. On Monday, Governor Scott reversed course yet again, and now he once again opposes Medicaid expansion.
Governor Scott blames Obama for his change of heart. Florida is engaged in an ongoing dispute with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) over Low-Income Pool (LIP) funding program that helps states pay for uncompensated care.
Last week, those negotiations took a bizarre turn when the Scott administration accused CMS negotiator Elliot Fishman of suspending the talks, although Fishman was apparently simply taking vacation days for Passover.
In the midst of the dispute over LIP funding, Governor Scott has seized upon the controversy, to reverse his position on Medicaid expansion. While skeptics will note that Scott’s commitment to the program was shaky to begin with, the Governor is attempting to spin the narrative to argue that he is cancelling his support for Medicaid expansion, and “its all Obama’s fault”. Well, at least that appears to be his position today. What he will think tomorrow is anybody’s guess.
Scott’s decision to oppose Medicaid expansion in Florida puts at least 800,000 Floridians at risk of being unable to pay for their health care. Voters who re-elected him in 2014 under the assumption that he would approve Medicaid expansion took him at his word.
However, Governor Scott has proven time and again that his word has no value since he will alter his positions at his own convenience, with little regard for his constituents. Governor Scott’s about face on Medicaid expansion will have damaging and far-reaching consequences for the residents of Florida, who put their trust in him. Given his track record for dishonesty, they should have known better.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.