The winner of Gov. Scott's Medicaid flop? Scott
Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, while stiffing Florida Gov. Rick Scott on his call to expand Medicaid coverage in Florida, may be doing the governor a big favor. Now the governor heading into a tough re-election campaign gets to have it both ways.
To the voters mystified over how state leaders could decline to accept billions of dollars in federal funding to provide coverage to nearly one million Floridians, Scott can say he's on their side. To the voters livid that the one-time tea party governor thundering against Obamacare could suddenly embrace it, Scott's Medicaid about-face could soon be forgotten since Florida House leaders are against the idea.
No wonder, Scott barely mentioned Medicaid in his State of the State address last week and, when questioned by reporters, sounded like fighting for expanded Medicaid was at the bottom of his priority list.
The apparent demise of Medicaid expansion in Florida underscores another truth about the political landscape in Florida today: Jeb Bush, out of office six years, still wields more influence over state policy than the sitting governor.
Bush and his surrogates all but picked Florida's new education commissioner, Tony Bennett. And almost as soon as the former governor warned Republicans about agreeing to expand Medicaid coverage in Florida, it looked dead on arrival in the Florida House.