Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Health

Scott won't answer question on Medicaid for more Floridians

TAMPA — Gov. Rick Scott refused Wednesday to say whether he still supports expanding Medicaid eligibility to more uninsured and poor Floridians, an issue Democrats are certain to stress during his re-election campaign next year.

Appearing at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute on Wednesday, Scott for the second time this week publicly dodged questions about his position on expanding Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. Though Scott surprised many observers by endorsing expansion earlier this year, he also was criticized for failing to press House Republicans to accept the plan.

On Wednesday, Scott responded to a question about Medicaid expansion by talking about people whose private insurance plans were canceled due to new coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.

"Everybody is worried about the politics of the law," he said. "Here's my concern: It's going to impact the cost of health care, the quality of health care and access to health care. Have a great day."

He turned away as a reporter asked about the 800,000 Floridians who are too poor to qualify for subsidized insurance under the federal law, yet can't qualify for Medicaid.

Florida's Medicaid program is one of the stingiest in the nation, covering mostly children, pregnant women and the disabled. The Affordable Care Act calls for covering all low-income Americans through Medicaid, but the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the option to decline.

Florida Republican legislative leaders have said they would rather turn down $51 billion in federal funds over 10 years because they so firmly oppose expanding what they see as a flawed entitlement program.

On Wednesday, the liberal advocacy group Progress Florida circulated a video from another news conference this week in which Scott would not say whether his past support of Medicaid expansion continues. "Florida voters, and especially uninsured families, have a right to know if Scott is backpedaling or has flip-flopped on his support for expanding Medicaid," the group said in a statement.

Former Republican Gov. Charlie Crist, who's running for his old job as a Democrat, has also criticized Scott's handling of Medicaid.

Scott appeared Wednesday at Moffitt for an event his office organized to highlight the $50 million in state funding for cancer research approved during last spring's legislative session, though that funding already has been publicized. Moffitt received $10.4 million of the allocation.

Last week, Scott appeared at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg to talk about funding for medical education, also approved months ago.

Scott had no new information to report Wednesday about cancer funding, saying only he wants it to continue. "We've got to continue investing in the right things," he told reporters.

Also on hand were Moffitt executives, including chief executive officer Dr. Alan List, and University of South Florida president Judy Genshaft.

The governor stood in front of about 60 Moffitt researchers in white coats. Behind them hung posters describing Moffitt research projects. However, they were financed by the National Institutes of Health, a federal agency, not the state.

Three hours after Scott's news conference at Moffitt, a spokeswoman from his office called the Times to say that Scott made his stance clear when he endorsed Medicaid expansion last spring.

But, like her boss, spokeswoman Jackie Schutz would not give a yes or no answer to the Medicaid question. "There's no new update," was all she would say.

Jodie Tillman can be reached at [email protected] or (813) 226-3374.

Comments
Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

Compulsive video-game playing could be mental health problem

GENEVA ó Obsessive video gamers know how to anticipate dangers in virtual worlds. The World Health Organization says they now should be on guard for a danger in the real world: spending too much time playing. In its latest revision to a disease class...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

Funded by Alcohol Industry, Federal Study on Drinking Is Shut Down

The extensive government trial was intended to settle an age-old question about alcohol and diet: Does a daily cocktail or beer really protect against heart attacks and stroke?To find out, the National Institutes of Health gave scientists $100 millio...
Published: 06/16/18
More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults take prescription drugs that may increase risk of depression, study says

More than a third of American adults are taking prescription drugs, including hormones for contraception, blood pressure medications and medicines for heartburn, that carry a potential risk of depression, according to a study published in the Journal...
Published: 06/12/18
Itís time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Itís time to use the stingray shuffle to avoid a nasty sting

Courtney Bilyeu was running toward the murky water alongside a few military officers when it happened.She was an accountant for the U.S. Navy at the time. And on her way to take a swim with some coworkers in a California beach, she saw blood. The wat...
Published: 06/12/18
Itís important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

Itís important to wear sunglasses even on cloudy days, ophthalmologists say

The next time you head to the drugstore to buy sunscreen, donít forget to pick up some sunglasses, too. Thatís because both products work to protect your body from the sunís damaging ultraviolet rays.Wearing sunglasses for protection should not be re...
Published: 06/09/18
In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

In St. Pete, kidney patients gather for science and solidarity

ST. PETERSBURG ó Kidney disease doesnít discriminate.The crowd of more than 200 patients who gathered at the Vinoy Renaissance St. Petersburg Resort range in age from teenagers to seniors. They are of different ethnicities and come from all over the...
Published: 06/08/18
Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

Mayo Clinic Q&A: melanomas of the eye; how long should you take a beta blocker?

YES, MELANOMAS CAN BEGIN IN THE EYEIs it true that melanoma can develop in the eyes? If so, how common is it? How is it treated?Melanomas can begin in the eye, a condition called intraocular melanoma. Treatment for intraocular melanomas used to prima...
Published: 06/08/18
For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

For writer, using a heart rate monitor takes HIIT from frightening to fun

High-intensity interval training is one of the biggest trends in fitness, but it has always seemed a bit scary to me. To a mere mortal with achy knees and an aging body, even the acronym ó HIIT ó sounded intimidating.But recently, I overcame my fears...
Published: 06/08/18
Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: Ďdraggedí

Enjoy broccolini the Italian way: Ďdraggedí

By KATIE WORKMANOne of the amazing things about Italian food is that the best dishes are often so completely, refreshingly simple. Like, four-ingredient simple. (We donít count olive oil and salt. Or water. Or air.) I love broccoli. I can roast brocc...
Published: 06/08/18
What to get Dad? Try a Fatherís Day gift that will do him good

What to get Dad? Try a Fatherís Day gift that will do him good

Dads are notoriously tough to shop for. Theyíre not all that great at dropping hints, the way moms do, and if you ask what your dad might want or need for Fatherís Day, heíll likely say, "Nothing" or "Donít spend your money" or "I just want to be wit...
Published: 06/08/18