Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam openly bashed Gov. Rick Scott's call to expand Medicaid under the federal health care law, first at a Thursday appearance at the Florida Retail Federation and again in an interview.
"It is naive at best to think that you would enroll 1 million people in three years and then decide to walk away from the program," he said in an interview, referring to Scott's proposal to undo the expansion if the federal government withdraws money or if the Legislature chooses not to renew it.
Without using Scott's name, Putnam implied Scott made his decision for political reasons.
"I think we all have an obligation to look beyond the window of our own time in public life and think about the longterm impact of these policies in Florida," he said.
Is Putnam's outspokenness on this issue a sign of a 2014 primary challenge? He would not say for sure. "This isn't a conversation about politics or campaigns. This is a question about what the most responsible fiscal policy for Florida is."
We pressed again. "This is a conversation about healthcare and healthcare costs. It's not a conversation about individuals or personalities."
Putnam said the state's current safety net already provides enough care for the neediest families.
"I've seen how issues like this explode in cost once they becone an accepted part of policy. And it's just simply not realistic to think you would enroll over 1 million new people into a program that you would then end in three years," he said. "History would suggest otherwise."