Watch this Sunday's edition of "Naples Daily NewsMakers with Jeff Lytle" at 10 a.m. on ABC7 for an interview with Florida Senate President Don Gaetz. The video will available at naplesnews.com/newsmakers on Monday.
TALLAHASSEE _ Gov. Rick Scott may not put up much of a fight during the legislative session for the federal expansion of Medicaid that he recently announced he favors.
At least that is what he implies. The governor said Thursday his focus this session will remain on his call for $2,500 pay raises for teachers and for the elimination of sales taxes on the purchase of equipment by manufacturers.
Scott returned to those two items when repeatedly asked about opposition to the Medicaid expansion from House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, and a Republican-dominated House committee that’s strongly rejecting his proposal to accept a three-year expansion of the health-care program under the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m focused on the $2,500 pay raise, I’m focused on getting rid of the sales tax because I know the most important things for our families are jobs and education,” Scott said as he was questioned on Thursday on whether he would let the legislators work on the Medicaid proposal or push hard for his stance that he stunned supporters with on Feb. 20.
“I let everybody know my position with regard to Medicaid expansion. My position I think it is the right position for Florida families,” Scott said. “Now the legislative process is just starting. Hopefully they’ll do the right thing.”
Opponents of Scott’s proposal, including Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and Attorney General Pam Bondi, say that once Medicaid is expanded to include residents who are up to 138 percent of the federal poverty line, the state would be unable to back away from that position after three years.
Scott said he has discussed his position with members of the Senate Select Committee on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. The committee’s support is needed to keep the proposal alive in the Legislature.