Gov. Rick Scott is continuing his media blitz, appearing on at least one national radio program Tuesday to criticize the health care law. But one day after having several statements labeled as "False" or "Pants on fire" by PolitiFact, the governor has changed his tune in some ways.
In previous speeches and interviews, Scott talked about a Dairy Queen owner with about 20 employees who said he couldn't bear the costs of the health care law's requirement that businesses offer workers health insurance. PolitiFact looked into Scott's statements and rated them "Pants on fire" because the provision only applies to businesses with more than 50 employees.
A Tallahassee Dairy Queen owner told the Times/Herald Monday that he was misinformed about the law and did not know he was exempt since he only has 16 employees.
When America's Radio News Network host Lori Lundin asked Scott to respond to the PolitiFact ruling, he cast his statements in a new light and said the story about the business owner demonstrates how the health care law prohibits growth. (Scott's interview comes about halfway through the Podcast.)
"The focus is on many small employers," he said. "Their cost of health care is going up so they won’t be able to afford to hire the people they’ll need to provide the services to keep their business going.”
Today, Scott told ARNN that Florida's costs would be $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion over five or six years.
Even though some of his talking points have changed, the governor's disdain for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act remains. He criticized it as a burden on taxpayers that does nothing to reduce soaring health care costs.
"So we need to do the right thing," he said. "Do the things that reduce cost: more choice for patients with plans; let them choose what they want not what the government says they should have; more competition will reduce the price; reward people for taking care of themselves. ... Give individuals the same tax breaks as employers so they can buy their own insurance so they won’t have to deal with the pre-existing conditions."
Some of that could open him up to new criticism. The Affordable Care Act does create tax credits to help individuals afford health insurance. Families that earn between 133 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty level — roughly $29,000 to $88,000 for a family of four — will get tax credits on a sliding scale to help pay for private insurance.
Also, there are provisions under the law that supporters say will lower costs and create more choice. For example, reduced prescription drug costs for seniors, mandatory coverage for preventative care, and requiring insurance companies to provide rebates if they fail to spend 80 or 85 percent of premiums on direct services are all found in the health care law.