Publicly, Governor Rick Scott opposes the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid because of ideology, but privately he's providing dishonest analysis to state officials to justify not expanding the program.
Florida, which has one of the highest rates of uninsurance in the nation, could extend health coverage to about one million low-income residents by accepting Obamacare’s optional Medicaid expansion. But the governor — an ardent Obamacare opponent — has repeatedly said that expanding Medicaid would just be too expensive, claiming it would cost the state $26 billion over the next 10 years.
As Health News Florida reports, however, that figure from Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) is inflated because it doesn’t take into account the full amount that the federal government will reimburse states for choosing to expand Medicaid. A more accurate analysis found that expansion would cost the state around $1 billion.
As we've pointed out here before, the federal government will cover 100 percent of the cost of expanding the state's Medicaid program until 2017. In 2017, the federal government will cover 95 percent of the cost. And in 2020 and beyond, the federal government will still cover 90 percent of the cost.
Governor Rick Scott is leaving this fact out of his analysis and pretending that the state will be responsible for covering the majority of it. And emails obtained by Health News Florida prove that he is aware that his analysis is wrong.
The good news is state lawmakers are beginning to challenge Scott's estimates, and thanks to the reporting of Health News Florida, more people are going to know that he's just making things up at this point.
The burden of proof is now on him.