Gov. Rick Scott has is suing Barack Obama, alleging the federal government was trying to make Florida expand Medicaid, which is something Scott had once said he wanted.
Specifically, Scott is claiming that the federal government ended the Low Income Pool (LIP) health-care program in an attempt to coerce the state to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The $2.2 billion LIP program, which reimburses hospitals for treating the poor and uninsured, is set to expire in June.
“President Obama’s sudden end to the Low Income Pool healthcare program to leverage us for Obamacare is illegal and a blatant overreach of executive power,” Scott said in a statement. “His administration is effectively attempting to coerce Florida into Obamacare by ending an existing federal healthcare program and telling us to expand Medicaid instead. This sort of coercion tactic has already been called illegal by the US Supreme Court."
Just last week, Scott went on Fox News 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.”
Yet, according to at least one study, Florida hospitals could face 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.
Scott has seemed to yo-yo in his feelings for 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.”
But now he seems to be back to being against it. And he means it this time, taking legal action against the federal government.
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“If the Obama administration can arbitrarily and capriciously end one healthcare program in Florida, likely leaving our state taxpayers to foot the bill, it would be irresponsible to further obligate state taxpayers by going deeper into Obamacare with an expansion of Medicaid,” he said in his statement. “Moreover, the Obamacare expansion scenario contemplated at the state level in Florida would stick Florida taxpayers with a $5 billion bill over 10 years, at minimum. There is no true ‘free money’ for states through Obamacare, as we can plainly see from mounting cost estimates in states across the country.”
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi backed Scott’s decision to sue.
"The federal government is trying to do precisely what the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Constitution prohibits it from doing — forcing states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off funding for unrelated programs,” she said in her own prepared statement, released after Scott’s on Tuesday.
“The President, once again, is overstepping his authority, this time by trying to force Florida to expand Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act."