According to Bloomberg, Gov. Rick Scott, a strong opponent of federal health care reform, is considering working with the federal government to obtain grants from the Affordable Care Act for the state.
The state Legislature has denied a series of grants that are allocated through the health care reform law because legislators feel the law is unconstitutional and the state is in the middle of litigation with the federal government over the law. Some of the grants rejected so far were set aside for things like child abuse and neglect prevention.
Yesterday, Bloomberg reported that Scott “may press state lawmakers to reconsider some of at least $17 million of federal aid they didn’t budget because it’s tied to the [health care overhaul].”
Scott, 58, is deciding whether to ask the Republican- controlled Legislature to allow $2.1 million of U.S. grants to be spent on home care for the elderly and needy that it voted down in June, said Lane Wright, a spokesman in Tallahassee. He also may seek its approval to disburse $3.1 million of U.S. aid for child-abuse prevention lawmakers failed to allocate, Wright said.
Scott, a former hospital-chain executive, started Conservatives for Patients’ Rights in 2009 to object to President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which became law last year. As governor since January, he has had no objection to using U.S. funds for programs in place before they became part of the Affordable Care Act, said Wright.
He remains opposed to “implementing any part of Obama-care that didn’t already exist,” he said. The governor turned down three grants worth a combined $4.1 million to set up a health- insurance exchange, regulate increases in rates and help residents appeal denial of care, said Wright.
Scott may ask lawmakers to allow the spending of $3.1 million of U.S. grants for child-abuse prevention that they failed to release this year, Wright said. Without the anti-abuse program, Florida may not meet all requirements needed to compete for as much as $100 million of Race to the Top federal school grants
Advocates in Florida are waiting to see if the home visiting grants will also be tied to federal education funds through Race to the Top.
So far, it does not look like Scott has any support from the Legislature.
According to Bloomberg, Katherine Betta, a spokeswoman for Speaker Dean Cannon, R-Winter Park, is still telling the public that “the Florida House has a well-established policy of not implementing any portion of federal health-care reform because of ‘questionable constitutionality.’”