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Gov. Scott National Comments On Overhauling Health Care Criticised At Home

Scott headshot
Governor Scott's Office
Republican gubernatorial candidate Rick Scott

Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been talking up the Republican Congress’ plans for the Affordable Care Act or ObamaCare. But while he’s in Washington D.C. meeting with President Donald Trump’s administration, his public comments are being criticized at home.

Scott is blasting the Affordable Care Act by saying Trump inherited a mess. Republicans are considering replacing the current healthcare system and capping federal dollars to states for Medicaid.

“That doesn’t mean government runs all of healthcare," Scott said. "As government’s gotten more involved with health care, what’s happened? Cost has gone up, access has gone down, it’s just gotten more difficult.”

Former Florida House Minority Leader Mark Pafford said he disputes the governor’s claim. He said that at least for Florida, the lack of access falls on the governor and other Republican state lawmakers. Scott briefly supported using federal money to expand Medicaid before backtracking on that.

“Due to the governor’s own decision making and a legislature, primarily in the House, that opposed not only promoting ObamaCare, but opposed allowing more people into Medicaid. There a lot of people in Florida that remain uninsured,” he said.

House Minority Leader Mark Pafford (D-West Palm Beach)
Credit State of Florida

More than one million Floridians signed up for Obamacare this year. The U.S. News and World Report 2017 rankings shows Florida is the second Worst state for health care access, but having insurance doesn’t guarantee access.

Meanwhile, Gov. Scott says "able-bodied" people on Medicaid are preventing disabled people from getting Medicaid services. The term "able-bodied" was also recently used by Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz.

“I do believe there are people who are on Medicaid today who may not be on Medicaid following the passage of the Republican plan. We’re trying to provide more consumer choice, more options, give people health savings accounts that creates more agency within the individuals to make more decisions about healthcare.”

Pafford, who previously led a Florida healthcare advocacy group, strongly disagrees with both Scott and Gaetz and says the term able-bodied needs a clearer definition.

“It’s the governor’s decision and people like Congressman Gaetz in the legislature and other people who are currently in the legislature to put barriers up that allow every Floridian the opportunity to have health care,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration said the only adults who are eligible for Medicaid are caretakers, pregnant women, disabled adults and children, or those formerly in foster care. And adults who aren't disabled must make less than $3,500 a year.