(Bloomberg) — Florida Gov. Rick Scott is once again suing President Barack Obama and Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Obama’s Health and Human Services secretary, over the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
That didn’t stop the Republican from coming to Washington today with his palm out, trying to salvage more than $1 billion in hospital funding that’s at the center of his lawsuit.
See also: Is Medicaid expansion PPACA blood money?
“This program shouldn’t be going away,” Scott told reporters Wednesday after meeting with Burwell at her agency’s headquarters. “The federal government shouldn’t be trying to force us to expand Obamacare.”
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Scott filed a lawsuit against Obama and Burwell last week, accusing the government of withholding money intended to cover some of the costs of treating indigent patients in an attempt to force Florida into expanding its Medicaid program for the poor. Twenty-nine states have adopted the PPACA Medicaid expansion program, according to the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation of Menlo Park, Calif. Scott’s Florida is among the holdouts.
Scott’s lawsuit is the latest legal action by a Republican governor against the Obama administration, which has increasingly tried to use executive action to bypass Congress on issues including healthcare, immigration and carbon dioxide emissions. There are now more governors suing the Obama administration than there are that are not.
The Florida suit centers on hospital funding called the Low-Income Pool, which helps the state’s poorest residents. It is scheduled to expire in June, and the loss of the funds has blown a hole in the state’s budget.
“We don’t have a resolution,” Scott said after his meeting with Burwell.
Burwell urged Scott to expand Medicaid and told him that “coverage rather than uncompensated care pools is the best way to secure affordable access to health care for low-income individuals,” a spokesman for her department, Benjamin Wakana, said in a statement.
Florida Democrats who back a Medicaid expansion said Scott’s trip to Washington was a waste of time.
“Gov. Scott has failed to address the matter in a fiscally responsible way and is caught in his own ideological trap that now is causing harm to Florida,” U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor said in a statement. “He should stop going everywhere and looking to everyone else to fix Florida’s problems. He should stay in Tallahassee and work with the Senate to put Florida’s tax dollars to work for Floridians.”