Gov. Rick Scott Misinforms About Medicaid
Fox News gave Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) a platform this morning to rail against the health care law — which his organization has long opposed — and particularly against its expansion of Medicaid. When host Bill Hemmer pointed out that the Affordable Care Act provides states with funding for that expansion, Scott retorted that it will "create a lot of dependency" and then "pull the rug out from under Floridians:
SCOTT: Yeah, but what it does is it only covers a lot of it for a period of time and then, just like the stimulus bill which we're dealing with now, we have a stimulus bill that covered things for a while and then it goes away, you've created more dependency. The same thing is going to happen with this. They're going to create a lot of dependency for Medicaid, and then they're going to pull the rug out from under Floridians."
The expansion of Medicaid eligibility enacted by the health care reform law isn't "creat[ing] a lot of dependency for Medicaid"; it's the first step towards fulfilling a dire need of America's poorest families, who are disproportionately uninsured or underinsured. "Nearly two-thirds of the 45.7 million uninsured people under age 65 have incomes that are less than 200 percent of poverty," according to The Commonwealth Fund.
Yes, insuring additional people costs money, which is why the federal government is paying for 100 percent of the increase as of 2014. That percentage eventually declines, but far from "pull[ing] the rug out from under" states, it reaches its lowest point in 2020 with 90 percent federal funding, where it remains in perpetuity.
Besides, what's really happening with Florida's Medicaid program is that Gov. Scott is trying to "pull the rug out" from under Florida's poorest families by cutting Medicaid eligibility. Along with a number of other Republican governors, Scott has asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to allow him to tighten Florida's Medicaid eligibility requirements in order to deny some people support and save the state money.
Meanwhile, Scott's budget proposes to cut by 5 percent the amount the state pays health care providers for treating Medicaid patients.