Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a longtime critic of the Affordable Care Act, announced Wednesday that he would urge his state Legislature to expand its Medicaid program as outlined by the health reform law.
“While the federal government is committed to pay 100 percent of the cost, I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians the needed access to health care,” Scott said at a press conference at the Governor’s Mansion.
He said his mother’s death gave him “new perspective’’ on the issue.
Scott becomes the seventh Republican governor to endorse Medicaid expansion, and the first one in the Deep South to do so. His decision may put new pressure on other Southern states to follow suit.
In Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal has remained firm that the state will not expand its Medicaid program. Deal cites the additional costs to the state in his decision.
The decision by Scott, a former health care company executive, came just hours after the federal government granted Florida a waiver that will allow the state to enroll almost all Medicaid patients into managed care plans.
The state Legislature must still vote to adopt the expansion, according to the Tampa Bay Times.