Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) made his case Thursday for deciding not to implement provisions of President Barack Obama's health care law, saying he was focused on creating jobs, not putting money into government programs.
Speaking on CBS's "This Morning," Scott explained his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage to poor Americans, saying it would place too great of a financial burden on the state and take away from other areas, such as education.
“Medicaid is growing at 3.5 times our general revenue. So it’s making it difficult to fund our K through 12 education,” Scott said. "If you talk to the citizens, they want a job, they want to make sure their kids can get a great education. Every time we expand Medicaid, we make it more difficult to fund our education system, which is very important to our citizens."
Scott also responded to reports that he had greatly exaggerated some of the figures he had used to justify his inaction. Independent fact-checker PolitiFact gave one claim a "pants on fire" rating and declared two others to be "false."
The governor said a report in the Wall Street Journal had more closely matched his numbers but added that "it depends on what number you want to use" and how fast the program is implemented.
"The truth is, it's a lot of money. Whatever the number is, it's a lot of money," Scott continued.
Scott, a former hospital executive, said getting people back to work was his primary concern, and that he generally opposed Obamacare because it "doesn't deal with the core issue" of rising costs.
"The most important thing is working on getting everybody a job. We still have 800,000 people out of work. But we've had a dramatic drop in unemployment. That's the most important thing we do," he said. "And then make sure the industry focuses on reducing cost. Look at how you can, through competition, drive down the cost. Make sure you allow people to buy the insurance they want to buy. Those are the things that are going make it easier for people to get insurance -- not a federal program that they're not going to be able to afford and we can't afford as taxpayers of this state."
While Scott seems clear in his resistance to the president's health care law, The Huffington Post's Jeffrey Young recently reported that hospitals were concerned with the recent decision by some Republican governors to reject the Medicaid expansion effort:
Pressure from the influential hospital industry could soften resistance in the states to adding more people to the Medicaid rolls, especially since the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs of these new beneficiaries from 2014 to 2016 and then phase down its share of the expenses over three years, reaching 90 percent starting in 2020. Hospitals, which are required by federal law to treat anyone with a medical emergency regardless of their ability to pay, were left with $39.3 billion in unpaid bills in 2010, according to the American Hospital Association.