I was one of the few national conservatives to support Governor Scott in 2010 during his primary. He is a fundamentally great person. I really like him. He has been a friend to this site.But I am terribly disappointed in his decision to expand Medicaid in Florida.As one of the chief opponents of Obamacare and, before it, Hillarycare, Governor Scott knows this is not the right thing to do. I would like to blame the staff around him, but the ultimate decision was his to make and he made it.The long term ramifications for Florida will be bad. The federal flow of dollars will not last and Florida will have to make up more and more funding. This decision will, long term, seriously harm Florida and make it less and less competitive.Governor Scott is interested in getting re-elected and has terrible poll numbers. No doubt part of this decision has to do with his wanting to get re-elected.When politicians do what they feel they must to get re-elected instead of doing what they know is right, they often lose re-election and, even when they do not, lose their way.It is a sad day for conservatives.Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal, who have competed with Scott and Florida on attracting business and growing their states economy should be on notice. They should not follow Rick Scott’s lead. They should not expand Medicare in their states. The money will not be there forever. Might as well let Florida roll that rock up the hill and take advantage of Governor Scott’s terrible mistake.[UPDATE]It is worth pointing out that before making this decision Governor Scott was able to extract a few concessions from the Obama Administration. HHS is going to allow Scott to privatize Medicaid coverage, which is actually a huge deal and Scott will only do this for three years in a trial run, that he may then end after that time and before federal funding drops.That last bit, however, could potentially turn his re-election campaign into a referendum on the expansion of Medicaid with Charlie Crist arguing that Scott was only punting a rejection of expansion until the second term and Crist would guarantee the expansion stays. Not sure how well that would play out, but it could be dicey.By the way, you should read this portion of Governor Nikki Haley’s State of the State address on this very issue:
The United States is falling behind the rest of the world in infant mortality and life expectancy – and here in South Carolina we have one of the lowest life expectancies and highest infant mortality rates in the U.S. With such high costs and such poor outcomes, why would we throw more money at the system without first demanding improved efficiency, quality, and accessibility? The Affordable Care Act, known as ObamaCare, says expand first and worry about the rest later. Connecticut expanded early under ObamaCare and just reported a $190 million Medicaid deficit – in spite of subjecting their citizens to a massive tax increase.California just raised taxes in part to cover their Medicaid deficit and yet needs $350 million more to pay for ObamaCare next year.That’s not us. That’s not South Carolina. The federal government likes to wave around a nine dollar match like it is some silver bullet, some extraordinary benefit that we cannot pass up. But what good do the nine dollars do us when we can’t come up with the one?And what good are any dollars when they come through a program that doesn’t allow us the flexibility to make the decisions that are in the best interest of the people of South Carolina?In the end, I cannot support this expansion for a very simple reason: it avoids addressing our health system’s high costs and poor outcomes. As long as I am governor, South Carolina will not implement the public policy disaster that is ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion.