George Gibbs Center for Economic Prosperity

Tallahassee Democra⁠t⁠ — Area leg⁠i⁠sla⁠t⁠ors we⁠i⁠gh ⁠i⁠n on Sco⁠t⁠⁠t⁠’s abou⁠t⁠ face

By: The James Madison Institute / 2015

Tallahassee Democrat
“Area legislators weigh in on Scott’s about face”
April 6, 2015
By Sean RossmanTallahassee politicos woke up to news Monday that Gov. Rick Scott had done an about face on Medicaid expansion, a decision likely to impact ongoing legislative dealings on the health care of hundreds of thousands of Floridians.”The decision on whether to take federal dollars to expand Medicaid presents a challenging quandary for policymakers,” said Dr. Bob McClure, president and CEO of the James Madison Institute in an emailed statement. “No one on either side, whether in the legislature or the public realm, takes lightly what is at stake — the health and well-being of Floridians.”Scott said in a statement to the Associated Press that it’s hard to understand taking on more federal programs that the feds could walk away from. His announcement was unwelcome news for some local legislators.Rep. Michelle Rehwinkel Vasilinda, D-Tallahassee, said she isn’t surprised the governor reversed his position since it falls in line with the rest of Republicans who oppose it.”I think the Republican Party has decided that this is not the way they want to go,” she said.She hasn’t staked out any position in the debate, but says she is for better health care with more access at a lower cost.”I believe that health care is a right. I believe that all people should take personal responsibility for their health care,” she said. “I would love to see a special session on how to move forward with health care in a way that everyone can kind of agree to and no one gets so ideologically stuck that we’re paralyzed.”Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, supports Medicaid expansion, adding that Floridians should get their share of federal dollars and that it would create jobs.”It’s one of the areas where Gov. Scott and I actually found agreement with in his first term,” Williams said.He hopes the governor reverses course again.”Medicaid expansion works. It saves lives,” Williams said. “It’s still early, we can still educate him.”Sen. Bill Montford, D-Tallahassee, said at risk is about $2 billion in hospital funding that could have a huge impact on North Florida, which has a lot of rural hospitals.”That will hurt every area of our budget, including education,” Montford said. “I’m very hopeful that our approach… will be accepted.”He’s embraced the Senate’s proposal that creates an exchange system. He calls that a conservative, free-market based solution that has bipartisan support.”The governor’s position as it currently stands, that’s caused me some concern,” he added. “As governor of Florida, he carries a big stick.”Rep. Halsey Beshears, R-Monticello, said he applauds the governor for changing his position and agrees that the federal government can’t be trusted in some cases.”The governor is trying to do what was in the best interest in the state,” he said.”I think we are united in our cause that we are taking a conservative, fiscal approach to all of this.”Beshears said he was never been in favor of Medicaid expansion. Florida would be doing the right thing by not following the crowd and accepting more federal money and adding to the national debt, he added.”I have great respect for our Senate counterparts,” he said. “We are at a true philosophical difference.”Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.Article: