Gov. Scott Wants to Talk Health Care with Obama

Gov. Rick Scott and other Republican governors want to meet with President Barack Obama to discuss the federal health law, including ways to expand Medicaid and set up online health exchanges that are more affordable for states.

The request comes after the Obama administration said Monday that if states do a partial Medicaid expansion the federal government won’t pick up 100 percent of the costs for the first three years. Scott told reporters Tuesday he was disappointed in the decision. He said he recently sent a letter along with several other Republican governors requesting a meeting with Obama.

“I’m hoping the president sits down with us and have the conversation about how we can make sure for Florida families that we have a safety net that we believe in, said Scott Tuesday. “ We care about those who can’t afford their health care but we got to be able to afford a health care safety net that our citizens are able to pay for. “

Scott has been reluctant to expand Medicaid, in part, because of the long-term costs, saying the $21 billion program already consumes too much of the state’s $70 billion state budget.  The state’s share of an expanded program is estimated to be $79 million in 2016 and increase to $330 million in 2020.

Friday is the deadline for states to decide how they will handle health-insurance exchanges under the health care law. If states don’t create an exchange the federal government will set up one. A third option is for the state and federal government to collaborate on a website where consumers can shop for health insurance.

By James Call, The Florida Current

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