Healthy State
5:23 pm
Sun July 1, 2012

Governor Rick Scott Says Florida Won't Implement Health Care Law

Florida was the lead plaintiff in the 27-state lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act.

Now that the law has been upheld by the Supreme Court, Governor Rick Scott tells Fox News he will not implement it.

"We're not going to implement Obamacare in Florida," Scott said. "We're not going to expand Medicaid because we're going to do the right thing. We're not going to do the exchange."

He says the law is too costly for Floridians and bad policy, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Scott hopes the law will be repealed after the November election, if a new president is elected. He says even if that doesn't happen, Florida will not set up a health exchange or participate in an expansion of the Medicaid program.

Scott says the state can't afford to add an estimated 1 million people to the Medicaid rolls -- even with the federal government picking up 90 percent of the cost.

"We can't pay for that; there is no way Floridians can pay for that," he said.

“Florida is not going to implement Obamacare. We are not going to expand Medicaid and we’re not going to implement exchanges,” Scott’s spokesman Lane Wright told The Associated Press on Saturday. 

Before the Supreme Court ruling, Scott had said he would implement the law if it was upheld.

Just Friday, Scott told WUSF in Tampa that he needed time to form a plan on how to handle Medicaid expansion.

"We'll be looking at that, the issue of the exchanges, the issue of whether we can afford to expand Medicaid, but we'll be looking at that over the next few weeks as we look at that opinion."

He did, however, suggest that he would fight the law.

He told reporters, "I was at a business the other day. I think they had about 20 employees and they said to me, governor, is this bill going to become law and I said, I hope not. I'm going to do everything I can to make sure it doesn't because they said, we will have to close."

(By the way, the requirements of the new healthcare law to provide insurance only apply to businesses with 50 or more employees.)

State Rep. Mark Pafford, a Democrat, told the Tampa Bay Times he wasn't surprised by the Governor's statements.

"This is a guy who was in the private sector. He created an organization to fight the Affordable Care Act," said Pafford.

"He then was so upset that he became governor using his own money. So it wouldn't make sense that he would do anything else."

Under the health care law, by 2014, states must implement a health insurance exchange, or a Web-based marketplace where people can shop for insurance, or defer to a federal program.

By Nov. 16, states need to submit plans to the federal government that show their readiness to start health exchanges.

States also must decide whether to move forward with an expansion of Medicaid. In Florida, about 3.8 million people are uninsured.