At an event in Tampa today, Tampa Mayor (and possible Democratic contender for governor in 2018) Bob Buckhorn said Governor Rick Scott should feel bad about not supporting Medicaid expansion in Florida, Tampa Bay Times columnist Sue Carlton wrote earlier.
"Shame on this governor," Buckhorn said. "Shame on this Legislature. They need to get back to work."
The governor probably didn't hear him. Scott, you see, was up in Washington, D.C.
He met with GOP members of Florida's Congressional delegation, who told him, according to the News Service of Florida's Brandon Larrabee, they'd arrange a hearing with the House Energy and Commerce Committee that'll examine whether or not the feds are trying to coerce Florida into accepting Medicaid by taking Low Income Pool money off the table. (Oh, may as well throw Benghazi in there. Why not?)
That hearing will probably take place well after June 30, the day LIP sunsets.
Scott and members of the Florida House are under fire from pretty much everyone these days over their refusal to expand Medicaid via federal money made available through President Obama's health law. The $51 billion that's on the table would help insure about a million Floridians who make too much money to qualify for Medicaid and not enough money to afford insurance on their own.
The thing is, the federal government just got done weaning Florida off its Low Income Pool program, which is designed to reimburse hospitals that offer care to the poor, typically via emergency rooms. Till this year, Florida got $2.2 billion for the program annually.
But it's not looking good for LIP this year, and there's potentially a gaping hole in the state budget, hence Scott's little field trip—his second adventure in our nation's Capitol in recent weeks.
Supporters of Medicaid expansion, which could be administered through the A Healthy Florida Works program, say that arming Floridians with adequate health coverage means they can go to the doctor when they feel a small bump on their neck rather than heading to the ER years later, in agony from the final throes of full-blown everything cancer.
Seems simple, but ya know. Obama.
Rather than go for it, the State House ended the legislative session three days early. Their counterparts in the State Senate have said yes to expanding Medicaid and the two have to come to an agreement, or else they can't pass a state budget. They're holding a special section in June to figure it out.
Scott, meanwhile, sued the federal government.
Before his most recent D.C. trip, Scott went and vented to his friends at Fox News, writes the Times, telling them the state will just have to miss out on education funding increases and tax cuts because of those mean people who think everyone should have health insurance.
"What I believe is going to happen is this," Scott said on Fox News' On the Record with Greta Van Susteren. "We'll just have a continuation budget, which will mean we'll have about an $8 billion surplus … We'll just do what we've done this last year. We won't put more money into schools, which I wanted to do. We won't cut taxes, which I wanted to do. We'll just leave the money there, and deal with it in our next session which starts in January."
By the way, that $8 billion is actually Scott-speak for $1.8 billion.
Scott has also now twice compared the Obama Administration to The Sopranos, a somewhat dated reference to a show we doubt he's seen.
Meanwhile, like, Buckhorn, a chorus of critics continue in their attempt to make Scott and others who oppose Medicaid expansion see the error of their ways.
The word "shame" has been a top choice for critics of elected officials who don't want to accept $51 billion in federal Medicaid money to make health insurance affordable for everybody. Groups have been holding demonstrations trying to "shame" lawmakers into reversing their stance on Medicaid expansion, and have such an event planned for outside the district office in Lutz of State Rep. and incoming House Speaker Richard Corcoran Friday at 11 a.m.