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Eliminate Obamacare? That's up to Cruz, Rubio and Congress, Scott says

It doesn’t look like Gov. Rick Scott will be following other members of his party, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, in calling for a last-ditch effort to eliminate Obamacare with defunding the federal government after Sept. 30.

During a four-minute Wednesday interview on CNN’s The Lead with Jake Tapper, Scott was asked twice if he supported the latest tactic to eliminate the Affordable Health Care Act, which 2016 presidential contenders Rubio and Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, do.

Twice, Scott said he would support this elimination attempt, but added he wants Obamacare replaced with another policy.

“I don’t hear them talking about a replacement bill,” Tapper asked Scott. “Are you suggesting that if Republicans move forward with trying to repeal Obamacare, they need to have a substitute there to fill the need of all the unemployed, all the uninsured rather?”

Scott replied that some policy, if not Obamacare, needed to fill the void.

“We need to have a policy,” Scott said. “Let’s replace it with what’s good.  Reduce the cost of health care, improve access, improve quality, give people the right to choose the health care they want.”


What exactly that is, Scott wouldn’t say. He instead wanted to talk about his privacy concerns related to federal employees hired to help people who are confused about enrolling on online health exchanges. That Scott is focused more on privacy issues related to the Affordable Care Act is yet another indication that he sees Obamacare as a fait accompli and he's just going to deal with it, sort of like Republican governors elsewhere -- Chris Christie of New Jersey, John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan. 

Here’s the transcript:

Jake Tapper: It feels like a little like deja vu. Remember all those angry 2009 townhalls about Obamacare? Well Republicans are bringing them back, but with a twist, now complete with defund Obambacare banners. Republican Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) the latest flavor of the month for the 2016 presidential race, is one of the leading voices in the movement.   But as he saw last night some members of the audience weren’t so receptive.

(footage of Cruz getting shouted down at town hall meeting)

Tapper: That battle is being fought state by state as we inch closer to the October 1 launch of the health care exchanges. Cruz says this is the GOP’s last best chance to kill Obamacare. Is he right? Let’s bring in Florida Republican governor Rick Scott, who has many strong views on Obamacare. Florida has fought many of the elements. Governor, the move being led by Sen. Cruz and your fellow Florida Republican (Sen.) Marco Rubio to refuse to fund the government unless money for Obamacare is taken out of the budget, do you support it?

(1:17 in)

Scott: Well Jake, here’s what we know. Obamacare is going to cause a lot of problems. It’s not a good law. I didn’t support it. They’re going to have to figure out how they’re going to make sure they replace it with something that improves quality, access, reduces the cost. However they do that is the right thing to do. The federal congress is going to figure out how to get that done. I hope it’s done. My focus is on this privacy issue for our citizens in Florida with these new navigators. We don’t have any idea, we have so many unanswered questions: who’s going to do this, what’s their background, where are they going to share the information, what information are they going to have, are they going to tell people they’re going to share informatioin? That’s my concern today.

Tapper: I want to get to those navigators in a second. Navigators, for those watching, are those individuals who the federal government provides funding to the states and these individuals are supposed to provide the information to consumers who are confused to enroll on online exchanges. But I just wanted to try one more time. Do you support the push by Cruz and Rubio to say, ‘Don’t fund the government unless Obamacare is taken out of it. Other governors have weighed in. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin opposes it, other people support it. You are somebody who has political strategy, you got to the governor’s office without having held elected office before, do you support what Rubio and Cruz are doing?

Scott: Here’s what I support. I support replacing Obamacare with good policy. They have to figure out the right way of doing it.  In my state, what I’ve done, I had a $4 billion budget deficit, I used smart budgeting to get things done. They have to figure out if that’s the right way of getting rid of it. We need to have a logical immigration, or (laughs), logical health care policy that makes sure we have good access, quality and cost, but they have to figure out whether it’s defunding, that they need to replace it with good policy.  

Tapper: I don’t hear them talking about a replacement bill. Are you suggesting that if Republicans move forward with trying to repeal Obamacare, they need to have a substitute there to fill the need of all the unemployed, all the uninsured rather. You have what I think is 3.5 million uninsured in Florida.

Scott: We did that in Florida. My first year in office, in 2011, we passed a Medicaid reform that would allow us to control our costs but also get people access to quality health care. We got the waivers done, this year, and that’s what we’re doing. We’re improving our Medicaid program for those who can’t afford their health care. We need to have a policy, let’s replace it with what’s good.  Reduce the cost of health care, improve access, improve quality, give people the right to choose the health care they want. Give them the same tax breaks as employers, reward them for good behavior,  don’t smoke, eat right, exercise, that’s what we should be doing. Today we’re talking about privacy for our citizens of Florida.

Tapper: You’re concerned about the navigators. But the response from the Obama administration is that there are already individuals who do this for people who try to enroll in Medicare or Medicaid, they are there to help people, what is the difference between those people and these navigators?

Scott: If that was so easy, they should be able to answer the question that they will not answer. Who are they going to share this information with? What information are they going to take? Are they going to tell people that they will share this information? They’re not answering those questions. If it’s so simple, answer the question.