Political Animal


March 04, 2013 5:03 PM Premature Cheers for Medicaid Expansion in Florida

By Ed Kilgore

So a lot of folk who interpreted Rick Scott’s flip-flop on the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion as reflecting an inevitable acceptance of the “sweet deal” offered by the feds, which would now become quasi-universal as all those “pragmatic” Republican governors came around, may have celebrated prematurely. Via Digby, here’s a Reuters report from the Sunshine State:

Florida Governor Rick Scott’s plan to expand Medicaid coverage to cover about 1 million more poor people suffered a setback on Monday when the proposal failed to make it out of a key state legislative committee hearing.
On the eve of convening of the 2013 session, the House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act rejected the expansion. A Senate counterpart committee postponed consideration of the issue, which is sure to be one of the biggest controversies of the session….
Republican legislative leaders have been openly hostile toward the plan, emphasizing that state lawmakers will make the final decision in drawing up a budget for next fiscal year.

Now obviously these GOP legislators could overcome their objections to the expansion, if not via its reasonableness or any particular investment in Rick Scott’s iffy re-election prospects, then because they will be heavily lobbied by the private health insurers who will get to cover all these new patients thanks to the deal Scott cut with HHS to allow the total privatization of Medicaid services in Florida.

But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Scott’s re-election prospects might be enhanced as much or more by a futile effort to enact the expansion, as by a winning fight against his own Tea Party wing of the Florida GOP.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • esaud on March 04, 2013 5:15 PM:

    Scott's profit maximizing scheme: Another term at governor v millions for the company he and his wife run.

    Do you really think he cares about re-election? Expansion is the money cow he will never see again.

  • stevio on March 04, 2013 7:06 PM:

    But I wouldn’t bet the farm on it. Scott’s re-election prospects might be enhanced as much or more by a futile effort to enact the expansion, as by a winning fight against his own Tea Party wing of the Florida GOP.

    which is why he did it in the first place...he knew this would happen...even probably planned the whole rancid deal

  • boatboy_srq on March 04, 2013 7:20 PM:

    The very saddest part of this is that the volk who sent the Death Eaters to Tallahassee are the same ones most likely to be hurt by all these shenanigans. And of course they'll turn right around and send them right back, because Big Gubmint gone and done them wrong.

    To everyone who comments on this board, when Voldemort proposed his little Faustian deal, who insisted he wasn't their creature, I hold up the Florida State Legislature as proof that he is more than he ain't.

  • Jimbo on March 04, 2013 7:48 PM:

    If the issue had been providing billions of dollars in corporate welfare & tax breaks for some company or developer to come into the state, rape the environment & deplete natural resources while providing a lot of low paying, no-benefit jobs, this same bunch of tea party snakes would've dropped their drawers, bent over & spread their cheeks so fast a high speed camera couldn't have picked it up. Low-life dirtbags sat there lying through their teeth & tossing out every flimsy, transparent bogus excuse for saying "nyet" their evil twisted little minds could conjure.

  • Josef K on March 04, 2013 8:26 PM:

    I figured this was a con from the start. Either the crook gets the expansion through the Statehouse, in which case his buds in the insurance industry get another couple million, or his caucus blocks it and he comes out as a heroic moderate stymied by fanatics.

    The perfect confidence scheme, imo, as it doesn't cost the crook a nickel.

  • David Martin on March 05, 2013 1:41 AM:

    The latest iteration of the Tampa Bay Times story on the Florida House committee's vote holds out some possibilities for alternative ways to expand insurance coverage (Florida's one of the least-insured states in the nation). But as of now, this session of the legislature is effectively blocked from any further consideration of expanding Medicaid.

    I suspect Gov. Scott has, intentionally or not, retired from politics.