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ED Show
updated 1/11/2013 3:49:56 PM ET 2013-01-11T20:49:56

Florida Gov. Rick Scott's claim that Medicaid expansion would cost his state $26 billion over the next decade is completely false—and his own experts have told him that.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s claim that Medicaid expansion would cost his state $26 billion over the next decade is completely false—and his own experts have told him that.

As highlighted on Tuesday night’s The Ed Show, local publication Health News Floridareports that Scott, a Republican, continues to use the faulty statistic despite warnings from the state’s chief economist, Amy Baker. The $26 billion figure doesn’t account for the federal subsidies the state would receive under the Affordable Care Act: the federal government would cover 100% of the Medicaid expansion until 2016, and gradually reduce its contribution to 90%.

Health News Florida reports that a Scott staffer, Michael Anway, justified the $26 billion by saying that the federal government was unlikely to provide the legally mandated subsidy.

“The federal government has a $16 trillion national debt,  must borrow 46 cents of every dollar it spends, and in 2011 had its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history,” he wrote in an internal email.

Scott is one of several Republican governors planning to opt out of Medicaid expansion. A key provision of Obamacare, the expansion would extend Medicaid coverage to an additional 17 million Americans, including over one million Floridians. But Scott has his own plans for Medicaid: he is currently seeking a waiver from the department of Health and Human Services so that he can move forward on his proposal to privatize Florida’s Medicaid coverage.

As reported by Mother Jones in March, 2011, Scott has a personal stake in his own privatization scheme. In 2001, he founded the private clinic chain Solantic, which stands to profit considerably from Medicaid privatization. In January, 2011, he handed his $62 million stake in the company over to his wife.

Video: Gov. Rick Scott inflates Medicaid expansion costs

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    >>> and we are back. florida governor rick scott is dead set on preventing his state from participating in an expansion of benefits under the affordable care act . and he is willing to cook the books to get his way. to justify denying almost one million uninsured low income residents health care insurance coverage, scott is using republicans' favorite kind of math, the kind of math that just does not add up. scott says medicaid expansion would cost florida just too much, at least $26 billion over the next ten years. but a series of e-mails obtained by health news florida reveal on december 20th the state's chief economist warned the governor's staff his cost estimates were wrong. but scott keeps using them anyway. here is the governor on monday.

    >> actually, no. the florida 's agency for health care administration put out their estimate of what the expansion would cost just for florida taxpayers. and it's over $26 billion.

    >> well, let's break this down. the study scott is citing inflates the cost of expansion by 2,500%. would you like to get that return? we're not talking about small change here, folks. the number is so big because the agency didn't take into account the increase in federal funds . the federal government will pay the bulk of the cost for new medicaid eligibles if the state agrees to expand its program 100% between the years 2014 and 2016 , then down to 90% by 2020 . so in reality, those one million uninsured floridians would get coverage at a ten-year cost of about $1 billion to the state. but what do you expect? this is the same rick scott who ran a company at the time it was involved in the largest medicare fraud case in u.s. history , and he walked away with a $10 million severance package . pretty good deal, huh? the same rick scott who is pushing a medicaid privatization plan which would benefit his own health care company. tonight in our survey, i asked, should responsible gunowners speak up about gun legislation? 99% of you say yes. 1% of you say no.

    >>> insurance giant aig is thinking about suing the federal government after the taxpayers build a them out. remember that story? pretty disturbing story of corporate greed. bloomberg view columnist william

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