Florida Gov. Rick Scott is so opposed to the Affordable Care Act, he's refusing to help his state and his citizens by refusing to accept federal assistance in expanding Medicaid. To justify that decision, he's using made up numbers on the cost of the expansion to the state: numbers he knows are incorrect. That's according to emails obtained by Health News Florida.
Scott persists in justifying his decision to refuse the Medicaid expansion by saying that would cost the state $63 billion over 10 years, and that the state would have to pay $26 billion of that.
But those numbers are based on a flawed report, according to a legislative budget analyst and State Economist Amy Baker. A series of e-mails obtained by Health News Florida shows the analysts warned Scott’s office the numbers were wrong weeks ago, but he is still using them. He cited them in aTampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday and at at a Washington press conference on Monday (see YouTube video).
The flawed report, “Estimates Related to the Affordable Care Act,” was sent to members of the Legislative Budget Commission on Dec. 17. Three days later, two of the recipients pointed out the faulty assumptions and sent it back to AHCA for a do-over. They said it would violate Florida law to proceed with the estimate.
That report was issued by the state's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA). Those faulty assumptions referenced above were that the federal government wouldn't provide the funds for the expansion included the Affordable Care Act. The report used baseline, pre-ACA federal Medicaid funding levels. Why the report's authors made that assumption isn't clear either in the report or the emails obtained by Health News Florida, but Scott’s new coordinator for health policy and budget, Michael Amway, says that the governor's office will still submit these numbers as an "alternative forecast" for the next budget estimating conference, in addition to the corrected report the AHCA has been forced to make.
Amway, a former PhRMA lobbyist and congressional staffer, says that even if Obamacare has increased funding for Medicaid expansion in the states, he doesn't believe that funding will come through, because 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." Maybe Amway has some inside knowledge about what the Republican House intends to do to starve Medicaid and Obamacare, but he's still lying, and so is his boss.