Florida Gov. Rick Scott, an extremist opponent of health care reform, has always been dishonest about the Affordable Care Act and President Obama. But yesterday officials in his own administration contradicted Scott’s claims about the cost of embracing Obamacare’s optional expansion of Medicaid.
Scott has claimed that the Florida taxpayers would have to shell out $26 billion over 10 years to cover an additional 1.2 million residents. After he met on Monday with U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, he made the claim again:
“As you know, Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration put out their estimate of what the expansion would cost just for Florida taxpayers, and it’s over $26 billion.”
That’s a huge misrepresentation. The agency, investigating at the request of Florida’s Republican-controlled House of Representatives, found that the cost to Florida taxpayers would be closer to $3 billion, meaning the governor inflated the estimated cost by an impressive 767 percent just to win his political argument.
Scott was forced to change his Medicaid math when inconvenient facts from within his own administration emerged this week, but that doesn’t mean he’s done fighting the implementation of the health care law.
Scott is a “sick, cruel, sadistic” person, according to Florida Congressman Alan Grayson. State health care budgets have been cut enough that Florida is warehousing disabled children in inadequate nursing homes and has slashed much-needed aid to those most at risk.
All this from the man who made a fortune heading a hospital company that systematically bilked Medicare and Medicaid.
Florida ranks 34th in the U.S. in terms of poverty, with 17 percent of Floridians classified as “poor.” In Florida, 18 percent of non-elderly adults are on Medicaid and 24 percent of non-elderly adult Floridians were uninsured in 2011. Only Texas and Nevada have higher uninsured rates among non-elderly adults.