Senate Democrats prod Scott for special session on Medicaidby John Kennedy | May 6th, 2013
Florida Senate Democrats urged Gov. Rick Scott on Monday to call lawmakers back into special session to work on expanding health care insurance for low-income Floridians.
Scott earlier endorsed a Medicaid expansion allowed under the Affordable Care Act that could bring Florida $51 billion in federal money over the next decade to cover 1.1 million uninsured Floridians.
But the House and Senate deadlocked on the issue — with House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, unwilling to accept any expansion that relied on federal dollars.
Scott did little to break the standoff during the two-month regular session which ended Friday. But Democrats said the governor now has an opportunity to underscore his support for expansion.
“Governor, you are on the record in support of fully implementing the Medicaid expansion so that uninsured Floridians have access to medical care,” the 14 Senate Democrats wrote. “We urge you to put action behind those words and wield your power to protect those people and the many Florida businesses whose fate now rests in your hands.”
Scott spent Monday touring Florida schools, touting a teacher pay raise he had listed as his top priority and was eventually granted by the Legislature, albeit with some modifications.
Scott wanted an across-the-board hike that was turned into a merit-based increase, that may not be distributed in many counties until next year.
The governor so far has said nothing about a special session on health care. In fact, his final comments when the Legislature adjourned Friday night didn’t sound like someone ready to renew the fight.
“The Legislature said, ‘no,’ I said ‘yes,’” Scott told reporters.
He also hinted that any sales pitch on his part would have proved fruitless. “The House and Senate know exactly where I am” on the issue, Scott said.