Rick Scott Dropping Medicaid Lawsuit Against Obama Administration
Photo by Michele Eve Sandberg
Rick Scott has announced that he is dropping the lawsuit against the Obama administration over the Low Income Pool (LIP) health-care program. The announcement comes hours after the U.S. Supreme Court handed the president a victory by upholding Obamacare subsidies, allowing millions in Florida who have insurance through the Affordable Care Act to continue getting subsidies.
In his lawsuit, Scott alleged that the federal government was trying to make Florida expand Medicaid through LIP. The $2.2 billion LIP program, which reimburses hospitals for treating the poor and uninsured, is set to expire this month.
During the time the lawsuit was filed, Scott took to TV to rail against Obamacare and compared the Obama administration to The Sopranos, the mob family from the popular HBO series.
“This is The Sopranos. They’re using bullying tactics to attack our state,” he said at the time. “It’s wrong. It’s outrageous that they’re doing this.”
On Thursday, Scott released a statement announcing he was dropping the lawsuit. The statement echoed Scott's accusations of Obama coercing Florida into expanding Obamacare:
"Florida saw a tremendous win for low income families this week when the Obama Administration finally agreed to continue funding part of Florida's Low Income Pool program even though our state did not extend Obamacare. Because of this great victory, we have decided to dismiss our lawsuit against the Obama Administration for attempting to coerce Florida into expanding Obamacare. It is unfortunate that it took a lawsuit to make the right thing happen."
Yet, for all of Scott's proclamations about "making the right thing happen," his refusal to expand Medicaid could have sent Florida into a spiral. According to a study by the National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, Florida hospitals would have faced a $53.3 billion increase in uncompensated care costs by 2019, without Medicaid expansion. The $53 billion in unpaid care costs would coincide with a total $14.1 billion in Medicaid reductions.
Moreover, Scott himself has been all over the map on his stance on Medicare throughout his administration. In 2012, he claimed expanding Medicare wouldn’t be good for anyone in Florida. A year later, he changed his mind, saying: “I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians the needed access to health care."
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