Florida Governor Sees Health Funding Compromise In State’s Future

Dec 16, 2016

Credit The Office of Governor Rick Scott

Florida Governor Rick Scott is hoping a better working relationship with Washington, D.C. will bring about a solution to the state’s ongoing battle over health care funding.


Scott this week met with Georgia Congressman Tom Price, who’s been tapped by President-elect Donald Trump to run the federal health care agency.

The Republican governor has clashed with President Obama’s White House over several issues — from environmental regulations to health care funding.

Scott, a former hospital executive, opposed expanding Medicaid to cover more low-income people, which was offered under Obamacare. He sided with Republican state lawmakers, who said there was no guarantee the federal government would continue to fund the expansion long term.

In Jacksonville this month, Scott said he looks forward to approaching the state’s challenges with a new administration in D.C.

“What’s nice now is Donald Trump’s a friend, Mike Pence is a friend, Reince Priebus  the chief of staff — is. I know Betsy DeVos who’s going to be the education secretary. I know Tom Price the congressman who’s going to be HHS (Health and Human Services secretary),” Scott said. “And so I’m going to work with them in each of those areas to make sure we have programs that work.”

The two-term governor said he’s confident the federal government will help Florida continue reimbursing hospitals that care for poor people. State lawmakers have struggled with the expected end of the Low Income Pool, a federal matching funds program that covers the uninsured who seek treatment at emergency rooms.

Some Democrats are skeptical of the new administration’s ability to deal with another impending Florida health funding crisis, while Republican state officials are as optimistic as the governor.

Reporter Ryan Benk can be reached at rbenk@wjct.org, at (904) 358 6319 or on Twitter @RyanMichaelBenk.