Florida officials who challenged the healthcare law were overconfident of victory and have been slow in setting up insurance exchanges required under the healthcare law. Florida has refused millions of Federal dollars to prepare.
As one of his first official acts, Governor Rick Scott turned down more than a million dollars to begin implementing the Affordable Care Act on February 1st, 2011. “We’re not going to spend a lot of time and money to get ready to implement that until we know what happens.”
The money in 2011 would have gone to establishing on line heath exchanges for consumer to compare rates. At the time, Scott promised: “The state won’t be caught flat footed”.
On Friday, healthcare advocates were chastising the governor for not moving more quickly.
Earlier this year, state lawmakers talked about setting up a mechanism for accepting federal money if the health care did become law. The governor threatened a veto, so it didn’t happen.
The money would help provide more care for up to half a million kids. Dr. Louis
Petrey says Florida is shortchanging health care for children.“You take grandma to the doctor for a sore throat and they pay 56 percent more for the doctor than the pediatrician who sees the grandchild for the same sore throat.”
The dilemma for Governor Rick Scott is that the program is only fully funded for the first two years. After that the state pays one of every ten dollars. On Thursday the governor was uncertain about what the state would do next. “I’ve got to read through the decision to make sure we understand it.”
Scott is also hanging his hat on his support for Mitt Romney. Romney has already promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
The state can still take advantage of 450 million dollars in Federal money to provide better healthcare for children if the legislature acts before this coming January.