Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) continues to embarrass himself and the state of Florida by perpetrating false Medicaid estimates of the cost of covering Florida's poor under the Affordable Care Act, even after he has been made aware of his errors say legislative analysts. Carol Gentry, of Health News Florida, reports this latest disgraceful behavior by Florida's hapless governor in Legislative Analysts Told Scott His Medicaid Estimates Are Wrong (But He's Using Them Anyway.)
Scott says he opposes expanding Florida Medicaid because it would cost too much: $63 billion over 10 years, he says, with the state paying $26 billion of that.
But those numbers are based on a flawed report, according to a legislative budget analyst and State Economist Amy Baker. A series of e-mails obtained by Health News Florida shows the analysts warned Scott’s office the numbers were wrong weeks ago, but he is still using them. He cited them in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday and at at a Washington press conference on Monday.
The flawed report, “Estimates Related to the Affordable Care Act,” was sent to members of the Legislative Budget Commission on Dec. 17. Three days later, two of the recipients pointed out the faulty assumptions and sent it back to AHCA for a do-over. They said it would violate Florida law to proceed with the estimate.
Between 2014 and 2016, the ACA will pay 100% of state Medicaid for those who do not earn enough to qualify for tax reductions, and then gradual reduce state reimbursement to 90%. But, Michael Anway, Scott's coordinator of heath policy and budget, says he will continue to use a flawed analysis that ignores the federal payments and instead assumes Florida will only receive compensation for 58% of its Medicaid expenditures, the average over the last 20 years, even though he has been informed of the error.
Anway says merely that he doesn't believe the federal funds will be paid, due to the deficit.
Carol Gentry tells us that the AHCA's estimates were significantly higher than those of two respected independent groups the Urban Institute and Kaiser Family Foundation which estimated that 1 million uninsured people would gain coverage if Florida expanded Medicaid, and the 10-year cost to the state would only be around $1 billion, and estimate that did not include savings to the state and local government that is not spent on emergency care for the uninsured.
Monday I reported that Florida Gov. Rick Scott sees approval drop to 23% in latest poll of the Tampa Bay area. I wonder how much lower Scott's favorable ratings will go once the one million poorest of Florida's uninsured residents, and their loved ones, realize that Governor Rick Scott is not only denying them health insurance under the ACA, aka Obamacare, but also is lying about the costs?
Governor Rick Scott's callous indifference to the dire health care needs of Florida's 1 million uninsured is truly a disgrace to himself, the state of Florida, the U.S.A., and the values of integrity, wisdom, and compassion, but perfectly consistent with his past behavior and what we've come to expect from him. How much longer will the citizens of the great state of Florida tolerate such unsavory behavior in this backward public official?
5:41 PM PT: Gooserock and ontheleftcoast raised questions about who might run against Scott in 2014. And, former Charlie Crist's name came up.
Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (R) on Wednesday criticized his successor, Gov. Rick Scott (R), and other Republicans for using “shameless” tactics that suppress voting rights, including requiring photo IDs, preventing felons from voting and purging voter rolls.
“The concern really is on sort of a closing the door on democracy,” Crist told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell. “For example, they’ve already changed the policy as it relates to former, non-violent felons. We had established a policy where they would have their rights automatically restored, give them the opportunity to vote once they had served their time and paid their debt to society. … That has now been changed under the new administration.”
“In addition, they’ve also said that early voting — which is a great tradition is Florida — has been reduced from a 14-day period before the elections to eight days before, making it again more difficult for legal citizens to have their right to vote be heard.”
Mitchell noted that Attorney General Eric Holder had recently compared voter photo ID requirements to Jim Crow laws, telling the NAACP that they were the equivalent of “poll taxes.”
“He’s on the right track,” the former governor agreed. “Anytime that you put more impediments into a citizen’s right — a legal citizen’s right to vote and make that more difficult, you impede the natural right of democracy and a citizen’s right to have their voice heard in important elections.”
“It’s just plain wrong,” he added.