Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s claim that Medicaid expansion would cost his state $26 billion over the next decade is completely false—and his own experts have told him that.
As highlighted on Tuesday night’s The Ed Show, local publication Health News Florida reports that Scott, a Republican, continues to use the faulty statistic despite warnings from the state’s chief economist, Amy Baker. The $26 billion figure doesn’t account for the federal subsidies the state would receive under the Affordable Care Act: the federal government would cover 100% of the Medicaid expansion until 2016, and gradually reduce its contribution to 90%.
Health News Florida reports that a Scott staffer, Michael Anway, justified the $26 billion by saying that the federal government was unlikely to provide the legally mandated subsidy.
“The federal government has a $16 trillion national debt, must borrow 46 cents of every dollar it spends, and in 2011 had its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history,” he wrote in an internal email.
Scott is one of several Republican governors planning to opt out of Medicaid expansion. A key provision of Obamacare, the expansion would extend Medicaid coverage to an additional 17 million Americans, including over one million Floridians. But Scott has his own plans for Medicaid: he is currently seeking a waiver from the department of Health and Human Services so that he can move forward on his proposal to privatize Florida’s Medicaid coverage.
As reported by Mother Jones in March, 2011, Scott has a personal stake in his own privatization scheme. In 2001, he founded the private clinic chain Solantic, which stands to profit considerably from Medicaid privatization. In January, 2011, he handed his $62 million stake in the company over to his wife.