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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor to Gov. Rick Scott: Veto the budget, call lawmakers back to expand Medicaid

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, said she hopes Gov. Rick Scott will veto the state budget and call legislators back to Tallahassee to come up with a plan to expand Medicaid.

Speaking Thursday to the Tampa Bay Times editorial board, Castor said Scott should use his "political chops" to force a solution on Medicaid. The governor surprised many when he came out in favor of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, a law he actively campaigned against. Now he's taking criticism from the law's backers for not trying harder to sway Florida House members who have fought accepting federal money to get health coverage for more uninsured Floridians.

"He could have a lasting legacy here. Does he understand that?" Castor said.

While Castor pledged not to give up on Medicaid expansion, she said she is moving forward on another provision of the law -- insurance exchanges set to come online in 2014 where people can purchase policies, often using federal tax credits. Castor said she will help with an outreach effort, spearheaded by the White House, to encourage people to sign up for insurance.

"I think people are still quite confused" about how the exchanges will work, Castor said.

[Last modified: Thursday, May 2, 2013 3:36pm]


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