TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — An aide to Florida Gov. Rick Scott is defending the Republican’s opposition to expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul to cover another million state residents, even though the federal government would pick up most of the initial costs.
Spokesman Brian Burgess on Thursday said the state cannot afford the millions it would take to attract billions in federal funding every year that Florida is eligible to receive through the expansion. The governor, a former hospital chain executive, has been a leading opponent of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
Burgess also said the state has other programs to help low-income people who don’t qualify for Medicaid.
“We have to figure out how to pay if we are going to do this, and we don’t see a way,” Burgess said.
He was reacting to preliminary figures reviewed this week by state economists. They show turning down the expansion would cost Florida nearly $40 billion in federal money to save at most $2.5 billion in state funds over 10 years.
“Where does it come out of?” Burgess asked. “What programs get sacrificed?”