Once a leading Obamacare foe, Scott on sidelines for Rubio’s defunding effortby George Bennett | August 22nd, 2013
PALM BEACH — Gov. Rick Scott, once a leading national opponent of the federal health care law, is remaining on the sidelines while Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and other conservatives lead a “defund Obamacare” push.
In a Wednesday appearance on CNN and a later interview with The Palm Beach Post, Scott didn’t directly answer whether he supports the efforts by Rubio, Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others to derail the health care law by cutting off federal money for it before the new budget year begins Oct. 1.
Asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he supports Rubio’s and Cruz’s efforts, Scott said: “Well Jake, here’s what we know. Obamacare is going to cause a lot of problems. It’s not a good law. I didn’t support it. They’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to make sure they replace it with something that improves quality, access, reduces the cost. So, however they do that is the right thing to do. The federal Congress has got to figure out how to get that done. I hope it’s done.”
Pressed again by Tapper, Scott said: “I support replacing Obamacare with good policy. They’ve got to figure out the right way of doing it. In my state, what I’ve done, I had a $4 billion budget deficit, I used smart budgeting to get things done. They’ve got to figure out if that’s the right way of getting rid of it. We need to have a logical…health care policy that makes sure we have good access, quality and cost, but they’ve got to figure out whether it’s defunding, but they need to replace it with good policy.”
After making an appearance at an Associated Industries of Florida gathering at The Breakers, Scott gave a similar answer to The Palm Beach Post when asked if he supports cutting off federal money for the health care law.
“Here’s what I support. What I support is we need to have a logical health care policy, one that’s focused on cost, focused on giving you the opportunity to buy the insurance you want, giving you some tax breaks as employers, making sure we reward people for eating right, exercising, not smoking. However the Congress wants to do that, I’m supportive. But that’s a congressional decision.”
Opposing Democratic health care overhaul was the genesis of Scott’s political career. Before he was on anyone’s radar screen as a potential candidate, Scott in 2009 founded Conservatives for Patients Rights to oppose the legislation that eventually became the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
As governor, Scott was among the leading supporters of the unsuccessful effort to get the health care law declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court. Scott signaled a grudging acceptance of the law this year when he supported a Medicaid expansion in Florida that the GOP-controlled legislature rejected.