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Gov. Scott: Federal Health Care Funding Loss Shouldn't Stop Tax Cuts

stacks of money
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Florida Gov. Rick Scott is proposing more than $673 million in tax cuts for next year’s state budget. But that’s about $20 million more than the state’s expected surplus. And a $400 million  shortfall is looming in health care funding as a result of losing federal money for indigent health care.

Still, Scott said he’s confident lawmakers can find a way to balance the books.

“Well, we work through the budget every year to try to make sure we allocate the dollars for what’s best for our families,” Scott said Tuesday in Jacksonville. “As I allocate the budget I’m going to make sure that, one: We get more jobs. We’re adding around 20,000 jobs a month. We’ve added 941,000 jobs. We have a great education system. We have the right safety nets. So, we’ll allocate the dollars the best way we can.”

Scott is banking partly on hospitals’ lowering costs. His Commission on Health Care will soon make recommendations on how to cut costs and increase price transparency.

A Washington Post investigation this year found nearly half of the worst price-gouging hospitals in the U.S. are in Florida.

No. 8 on the list of the worst offenders is the Orange Park Medical Center. It’s among hospitals that charge uninsured patients an average of 10 times the cost of their care. All but one of the worst 50 are for-profit hospitals.

Now Scott is calling on overcharged patients to submit their stories to the state Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding.

As the Florida News Service Reports, it’s part of his push to increase hospital price transparency and revamp the industry that made him millions of dollars before he reached the Governor’s mansion. Scott was CEO of Columbia/HCA, the country’s largest for-profit healthcare chain. He also co-founded the for-profit emergency-clinic chain Solantic. 

Still, Senate President Andy Gardiner says he’s shooting for a tax cut number closer to $250 million, according to the Associated Press. 

Jessica Palombo supervises local news gathering and production, podcasts and web editorial content for WJCT News, ADAPT and Jacksonville Today. She is an award-winning writer and journalist with bylines including NPR, Experience Magazine, and The Gainesville Sun. She has a master’s degree in broadcast and digital journalism from Syracuse University and is an alumna of the University of Florida. A nearly lifelong resident of Jacksonville, she considers herself lucky to be raising her own children in her hometown. Follow Jessica Palombo on Twitter: @JaxJessicaP
Ryan Benk is a former WJCT News reporter who joined the station in 2015 after working as a news researcher and reporter for NPR affiliate WFSU in Tallahassee.