Governor Scott addresses voter purge and county Medicaid billing dispute

Jun 4, 2012

Last week, the U.S. Justice Department ordered the state to stop its effort to purge its voter rolls of potentially ineligible voters. The department cited the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and questioned the close time frame to the coming election. But Florida Governor Rick Scott defended the effort, saying he wants to make sure the state’s elections are fair.

“If you’re a candidate, you want to make sure that the people who vote in your election are the people that have a right to vote. So my focus is in making sure that our state has fair elections, people that have a right to vote, vote, because I don’t want to disenfranchise anybody in their voting rights.”

Scott says the timing for the state’s effort to purge the voter rolls of possibly ineligible voters, was delayed by the state waiting for the Department of Homeland Security’s database, to help verify voter eligibility.

The governor is touring several counties to talk about ways to grow jobs and business, and made those comments during visits to Quincy and Monticello on Monday. In speaking with community leaders, Scott said one major issue affecting small counties are outstanding Medicaid bills the state says the counties owe.

“I think some of the issues they’re going to deal with is, even if they do find out that they owe some money, some of these counties are going to have a hard time paying it back. So we’re going to have to work with these counties to make sure that’s fair.”

Counties are responsible for paying part of the cost for the care of nursing home residents who are Medicaid patients. The  state contends several counties still owe payments on bills dating back more than a decade. The Agency for Healthcare Administration and the counties are trying to work out a plan for how to calculate and make those payments. But a number of counties have joined in a lawsuit questioning the constitutionality of the measure lawmakers passed this year that requires the agency to collect on the debts.