As Republican legislators seek an alternative to Medicaid expansion, Gov. Rick Scott has not wavered from his support for a three-year expansion trial run. He's found somewhat of an ally in former Gov. Charlie Crist, who could run against Scott in 2014.
Crist, a Republican-turned-Democrat, believes the state should move forward with expansion even as lawmakers seek a better way.
"I never think it's harmful to explore other alternatives in addition, but we don’t know what they are yet and how they’re going to be handled and how compassionate they’re going to be and if they're really going to serve people," Crist said. "But Medicaid works. We know that. It is the bird in the hand."
The money that would be coming to the state to expand Medicaid is essentially tax dollars that Florida residents have already sent to Washington, Crist said. "They ought to benefit from it, is my view. In essence, they already paid their taxes to make Medicaid work and solvent, they should benefit from it.”
Crist said he had the same opinion about federal high-speed rail funding, which Scott refused to accept. But on Medicaid expansion, Scott said he doesn't believe the state should turn down such a large infusion of money that will help provide insurance access to the poor and disabled.
It is one of the many examples of the governor taking a more moderate position than he did when he first took office.