Scott Going To Washington Amid Health Debate

Jun 26, 2017

After U.S. Senate leaders released a proposal Thursday to roll back the Affordable Care Act, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will go to Washington next week to weigh in on the issues.

“I have been carefully reviewing the bill, and next week, I will be traveling to Washington to meet with congressional leaders to provide input on how we can make the bill better for Floridians,” Scott said in a prepared statement.

Details of the trip were not immediately announced. But the outcome of the debate in Washington could have major implications for Florida, in part because of likely changes in the Medicaid program. Scott and other Florida officials have long sought more flexibility in how the state can manage Medicaid, including possibly getting Medicaid block grants from Washington. But some officials also have cautioned that a key question is how money would be distributed to states.

Scott, the former CEO of a national hospital company, did not go into detail about the new Senate bill but hinted at concerns about Medicaid and other issues.

“First, all states must be treated equitably,” Scott said. “Florida taxpayers deserve the same treatment as every other state under the Medicaid program. Second, every American, including those with pre-existing conditions, should have the ability to buy any kind of insurance they want. This will drive down costs and give people the flexibility and power to determine what they want to buy.”

Scott and other Florida Republican leaders have vehemently opposed the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. But state Democratic leaders have lambasted the Senate bill and a health-care bill approved by the U.S. House.

“This (Senate) bill is just as bad as the House bill, taking coverage away from millions of people and making huge cuts to Medicaid,” U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said in a statement Thursday. “If that weren't enough, it also allows insurance companies to hike rates for older Americans.”