GOP Gov. Rick Scott (FL) becomes the latest Republican chief exec to flip-flop on the issue of SCOTUS-sanctioned state sovereignty over Medicaid expansion as part of the ACA. His switch comes as the latest casualty of increasingly intense political pressure on him and others who had made similar announcements to remain steadfast to this key provision upheld by the high court. No doubt there are factors much greater than the welfare of Florida’s Medicaid beneficiaries at play. Scott, a former hospital executive, understands the implications of restricting federal government matching funds for healthcare and what it means for delivery of care for those who cannot obtain access at acute hospitals. Other Republican governors have buckled under the pressure to begin to accepting federal funding of Medicaid under the ACA, but news of Scott’s change is particularly important and merits coverage. For months, Scott has not only opposed Medicaid expansion for Floridians, he has actively fought against it — forming an advocacy group to fight proponents of the ACA provision. Says Scott:
I cannot in good conscious deny access to Floridians who need healthcare … This is not a white flag of surrender to government-run healthcare. We now have a Supreme Court decision and we have an election that says this is the law of the land.
From this point onward, GOP gubernatorial opposition should begin to fall like a house of cards over the next few months in advance of key ACA implementation in ’14. Rick Perry (R-TX) remains another high-profile holdout, but expect a similar change of heart.