Florida needs to prepare for a government shutdown, says Republican Gov. Rick Scott, because he and the Florida House continue to refuse the state Senate's budget solution of accepting Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. Scott instead is pushing the federal government to continue a temporary funding program known as the low-income pool (LIP). The feds and Florida signed an agreement
a year ago to end that funding. Despite having a year to figure this out, they haven't, and now Scott has sent out notices
to governmental departments this week, telling them to identify critical services that would need to keep running in the event of a shutdown. And he's blaming it on the Senate.
Among the "critical services" would be funding for an addition of 15,000 new students in the public school system, increases in the cost of the current Medicaid program, operating deficits in some agencies like the Department of Corrections and the Department of Children and Families and environmental initiatives "consistent with Amendment One," according to a memo from Cynthia Kelly, Scott's budget director.
In a separate letter to state Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, Scott said he was preparing for a budget without LIP funding. Scott has asked for the program to be renewed but said he has taken the federal government’s "non-answer" as "a no."
"While we have asked the federal government for guidance on what healthcare access proposals they would approve at no cost to Florida taxpayers, it is possible that Florida Senate President Andy Gardiner and the Florida Senate will not agree to any budget without the specific expansion of Medicaid (at a cost to state taxpayers of $5 billion over 10 years)," Scott told Stewart.
What Scott is leaving out in that calculation is the fact that Medicaid expansion would bring at least $5 billion every year
to the state for the next ten years. He's also conveniently leaving out the part where Florida taxpayers are watching their federal taxes go to cover people in other
states while he and fellow Republicans insist that they get federal money that is not Obamacare money.
If you're thinking this makes absolutely no sense, you're right. Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation. They've got a looming budget crisis. Their Republican leadership is absolutely fine with taking federal money to fix that, they just don't want Obamacare cooties on that money. It is insane. It is irresponsible. And it's needlessly hurting hundreds of thousands of people.