TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most vocal critics of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA), is dropping his staunch opposition to the law.
Scott, R, said in an interview Tuesday with The Associated Press that he now wants to negotiate with the federal government. He said it’s time for Republicans to offer solutions to help families after they lost their bid to defeat President Barack Obama.
“The election is over and President Obama won,” Scott said. “I’m responsible for the families of Florida … If I can get to yes, I want to get to yes.”
Scott had previously stated that he would not go along with any of the parts of PPACA that the state controls.
His newfound willingness to have a “conversation” about putting it in place in Florida comes at a critical time.
States have until Friday to notify federal authorities whether they plan to set up health insurance exchanges — Web-based supermarkets where individuals and small businesses can use new federal tax credits to buy health coverage.
Florida so far has taken no steps to set up its own exchange.
Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced an extension last week. She still wants to hear if states will be setting up PPACA health insurance markets. But governors can now take another month, until mid-December, to submit detailed blueprints.
Most states have been on the fence awaiting the election outcome. They now have three options: running their own exchanges, operating an exchange in partnership with the federal health officials, or letting the feds handle everything.
Scott said he still has concerns about the exchanges, including the cost of running one and whether it would increase the cost of health care for families. But he said he’s sure federal officials want to find ways to provide affordable health care to people.
“I don’t think anyone involved in trying to improve health care should say ‘no, no, no,” said Scott “Let’s have a conversation.”
Scott’s willingness to discuss the issue with federal officials in Washington aligns him closer to some other Republican leaders in Florida.
Incoming Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, for example, said the state may be willing to set up an exchange if it gets some better answers from Washington about how they will work.