| TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 4
TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 4 Florida Governor Rick
Scott's plan to expand Medicaid coverage to cover about 1
million more poor people suffered a setback on Monday when the
proposal failed to make it out of a key state legislative
On the eve of convening of the 2013 session, the House
Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act rejected the expansion. A Senate counterpart committee
postponed consideration of the issue, which is sure to be one of
the biggest controversies of the session.
Scott, a Republican who bitterly fought President Barack
Obama's national healthcare plan as a candidate and in his first
two years as governor, stunned conservative supporters on Feb.
20 when he endorsed a three-year expansion of Medicaid, provided
the federal government picks up the full cost for the first
three years as promised.
"There's definitely a fight between the governor and the
(state) legislature over this. The Republicans in the
legislature are much more fiscally conservative than his
actions have shown him to be," said Susan MacManus, a
Tampa-based political scientist at the University of South
Republican legislative leaders have been openly hostile
toward the plan, emphasizing that state lawmakers will make the
final decision in drawing up a budget for next fiscal year.
While Democrats have pushed for full implementation of
so-called "Obamacare," the controlling Republican leadership has
warned that the federal government might not keep its end of the
bargain, leaving the state with a million more Medicaid
recipients and reduced federal funding to cover them.
The conservative James Madison Institute praised the state
House committee action.
"State leaders should focus on providing more access to
quality care," the institute said in a prepared statement.
"Expanding a program that is inefficient in this effort is not a
way to do that."