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Florida’s GOP Governor Expands Medicaid; How Long Can Daugaard Hold Out?

From domineering to dominos: In the last couple months, we've seen a number of Republican governors accede to the impervious logic and decency of the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. Arch-conservatives and Obama nemeses like Jan Brewer of Arizona and John Kasich of Ohio have signed on.

Now comes Florida's Republican Governor Rick Scott. His state led the failed 26-state lawsuit that South Dakota joined against the Affordable Care Act. Last year Governor Scott said the Medicaid expansion would be "devastating."

Yesterday, Gov. Scott saw the light:

Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he wants to expand the state's Medicaid program to add 1 million lower-income patients to the rolls, endorsing a key provision of President Barack Obama's federal health care overhaul that the Republican governor fought for years.

...Scott reflected on the death of his mother, Esther, last fall. He recalled her struggle to raise five children with little money, and a constant worry of having health coverage for the family.

The multi-millionaire governor, who made his fortune as a health care executive, said no Floridians should endure the challenges his mother faced.

"No mother or father should despair over whether or not they can afford _ or access _ the health care their child needs," Scott said in a brief news conference Wednesday evening at the Governor's Mansion [John Kennedy, "Florida GOP Gov. Scot Endorses Medicaid Expansion," Governing, 2013.02.21].

Gov. Scott says he wants to give the Medicaid expansion a three-year trial period, during which Uncle Sam will pick 100% of the tab.

So, with Gov. Scott's flip, here's a map with the nationwide score:

Where the States Stand

Via: The Advisory Board Company

That's 22 definitely in (including our North Dakota neighbors!), 13 definitely out.

Yet Governor Daugaard and arch-conservatives in the South Dakota Legislature continue to dilly-dally. Why wait, Dennis? The federal money's there! Staunch Republicans are giving you cover. You have a chance to boost your own efforts against infant mortality.

No one will revoke your GOP card for doing the right thing. Go grandstand on some other issue. Take the deal, Dennis. Help people now.


  1. larry kurtz 2013.02.21

    South Dakota is a failed state: the tribes should manage Medicaid disbursements.

  2. owen reitzel 2013.02.21

    He'll hold out until he's told not to

  3. Rorschach 2013.02.21

    The folks running the government in Pierre are just slow-thinkers. That's all. It takes them awhile to process things.

  4. Steve Sibson 2013.02.21

    "The federal money's there!"

    How can you honestly say that based on the debt ceiling being maxed out.

  5. rollin potter 2013.02.21

    I would sure like to see the biographical information on this steve sibson!!!!!!!!

  6. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.21

    Steve, by your contention, we would turn back every dollar that comes to us from Uncle Sam. The South Dakota Legislature is not in a position to impact the national debt. Those borrowing decisions will be made in Washington. The South Dakota Legislature needs to stop grandstanding about issues outside its bailiwick and deal with the practical problems at hand and the practical funding Washington is offering us right now. The money is there: let's take it and do good by our people with it.

    R: how did the slowest thinkers happen to agglomerate in Pierre instead of in Phoenix, Columbus, or Tallahassee?

  7. Jerry 2013.02.22

    Mike Rounds has too much time and effort invested in the passage of Obama Care to allow ole Denny to keep saying no to the Medicaid advancement. Rounds knows politically that this could come back and bite both of them in the fanny. Denny will milk this for all its worth and then cave.

  8. caheidelberger Post author | 2013.02.22

    I hope so, Jerry! Gov. Daugaard's resistance seems to be a last gasp of 2010 Tea Partyism. Let's end the drama, accept ObamaCare as good practical policy, and move on toward finding the next solutions we need for health care.

  9. Douglas Wiken 2013.02.22

    "finding the next solutions we need for health care"

    This must be cost containment in the health, pharmacy, and health insurance "industries". If farmers could price wheat the way hospitals price an aspirin, it would be over a thousand dollars per bushel.

  10. Dana P. 2013.02.26

    per @sarahkiff via Twitter, Governor Christie (NJ) will be announcing his decision today in reference to Medicaid expansion.

Comments are closed.