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Nancy Smith

Rick Scott: Why I Said 'Yes' to Medicaid Expansion

March 5, 2013 - 6:00pm

Gov. Rick Scott is one of 24 governors nationally who supports the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion.

He said Tuesday during his State of the State address that he did so after much soul-searching. His family background -- including the death of his little brother -- played into the decision.

Have a look at how Scott explained it in his address.

When he shocked the Sunshine State Feb. 20 by announcing the state's participation in the Obamacare program, the governor pointed to Health and Human Services' conditional support for a waiver to shift most of Florida's Medicaid beneficiaries into a managed-care program.

But he said that the state would only take part in the expansion for three years. Then the decision could be re-evaluated.

It was, nevertheless, a courageous act.

Scott, once among the nation's leading critics of President Obama's health reforms, has upset his staunchly conservative base, particularly Florida's tea party faithful who are most responsible for putting him in office.

The governor's support now may be meaningless. A House select committee overwhelmingly turned expansion down on Monday, and the Senate -- where there might have been some sympathies for a "take the money" approach -- is now unlikely to back it without the House's full support.

Reach Nancy Smith at nsmith@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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