Gov. Charlie Crist said he has "concerns" about the new Medicaid bill passed Monday by the Florida House. The plan seeks to expand the role of HMOs in managing Medicaid patients and costs. Crist said he was most concerned about the "most vulnerable" and seniors.
Uh-oh. Considering he vetoed two priority pieces of legislation of the Republican leadership, talk like that is sounding more and more like a threat these days.
Sen. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, seemed to predict Crist's concerns. About 50 minutes into a briefing about the bill with House members and staff, Negron asked: "Do we know where Gov. Crist is on this plan?” Short answer: No. Negron said he didn't want to burn "floor time" and spend "political capital" with no reward.
Consider that the legislation was pushed by future House Speaker Dean Cannon, who withdrew his endorsement of Crist after the governor vetoed the controversial teacher-pay bill, SB6, last week. So it won't break Crist's heart to give this legislation a whack.
It also might be an easy target on its face. In the end, the bill gives HMOs more say over Medicaid. And politically, it's sure easy to demonize health insurance companies. Crist wouldn't specify what he didn't like about the bill. Asked what it would take for a veto, Crist said it "depends on what lands on the desk."