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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Rick Scott on health care lawsuit, agency mergers and assigned seats for media

1

February

Scribbles in my notebook after Gov. Rick Scott's press conference today.

110114_scott-spt.jpg1.) Gov. Rick Scott channeled his inner Ice Cube this morning, saying about the health insurance ruling yesterday, "We had a good day."

Scott also confirmed that he was not interested in implementing any part of the health care law until the U.S. Supreme Court weighs in.

"We are not going to spend a lot of time and money with regard to trying to get ready to implement it," he said.

"The state wont be caught flat-footed. We'll be ready," Scott added later. "We'll have enough time to be ready."

2.) Scott also weighed in on the ruling on FOX & Friends this morning. But he might have overestimated the support for the judge's decision.

"For every Floridian, it's what we believe in," Scott said.

3.) Scott acknowledged this morning that his proof is largely anecdotal that Florida is over-regulated.

"Just talking to people who do business in this state and talking to them about the difficulty in getting things permitted and getting decisions made here versus other states that are faster growing is dramatically different," Scott said. "In particular, what they talk about is ... the difference between doing business here versus doing business in Texas."

Scott no longer mentions the Pacific Research Institute report, which showed Florida in the lower half of states when it comes to regulatory burden. And he brushed off a question about a recent study from BizCosts.com that showed Florida already has one of the most attractive business climates in the country.

"It's probably in anticipation," he joked.

4.) Don't read anything into his decision to put a hold on SunRail contracts, Scott said.

"It's just part of the review of contracts, he said. "There's no political decision about SunRail or anything like that."

5.) The tension between Scott and the state capital press corps over the frequency and operation of pool reports has been well-documented. But what's lost in some of the coverage so far is that Scott has been fairly accessible to reporters. You can argue over the quality of his answers, but today he took questions from the press for about 15 minutes.

Can't remember the last time former Gov. Charlie Crist did that...

6.) A reporter played on that tension asking Scott if he wanted to assign seats to reporters. When Scott walked into the press conference, he noted that many reporters were in the same seats as last time and asked if that was on purpose.

Told there was no special seating, a reporter asked Scott if that might be the next step for a press corps that has already been threatened with rope stanchions.

Scott laughed and said, "No."

"It's always interesting when you start doing meetings and things that you end up sitting in about the same place every time. We all do," he said. "We go to church and everything, we do it."

7.) Scott denied that taking his budget unveiling to a tea party in Eustis turned the announcement into a political event.

"Nah. It shouldn't," Scott said. "I talk to all sorts of groups. I don't look at it that way. Maybe someone else could."

Scott described the tea party event as just another stop in his criss-crossing of the state. "I'm trying to my best to get around the state," Scott said. "And I'm traveling almost every day somewhere. Because I represent 18 million Floridians."

8.) Asked if he was contemplating a merger of the Department of Health and the Agency for Health Care Administration, Scott didn't exactly say no: "We haven't made a proposal. Not today," Scott said.

9.) Scott said he would review State Farm's request for a 28 percent increase in rates: "That's a big increase," he said.

"I want to make sure that we have insurance companies that can write the check in case we have the hurricane or whatever issue. But we have go to to be fair to the citizens of this state that so rates aren't so high they cant afford it."

10.) Scott on his visit to the Alfalfa Club dinner in Washington, D.C., over the weekend: "Fortunately they didn't roast me. Everything is off the record, so that's always easier."

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[Last modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2011 3:13pm]

    

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