Huffpost Politics

Rick Scott Signals Willingness To Negotiate On Health Care Law

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Florida Governor Rick Scott, one of the most outspoken critics of President Obama's health care law, signaled Tuesday that he may be ready to drop his longstanding opposition to Obamacare.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the Republican said that he is willing to negotiate with the federal government on implementing the new program.

"The election is over and President Obama won," Scott said. "I'm responsible for the families of Florida. … If I can get to yes, I want to get to yes."

"I don't think anyone involved in trying to improve health care should say 'no, no, no,'" Scott continued. "Let's have a conversation."

Scott's latest comments appear to mark a dramatic turn for the Republican governor. Last week, he insisted that he would continue to reject provisions that would expand Medicaid and set up state-run health insurance exchanges. However, Scott and other Republican governors have faced increasing pressure as Friday's deadline to submit plans for state-run exchanges looms. HuffPost's Jeff Young reported:

States have until Friday to tell the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services whether they will set up their own health insurance exchanges, partner with the federal government, or leave the task to U.S. authorities. Based on states' progress before this week, consulting company Avalere Health predicts 20 states will operate exchanges alone, 13 will do jointly with the federal government, and the Department of Health and Human Services will manage the remainder.

Republican governors who opposed the health care reform law have had more than two years to decide whether to go along, but continued to hope that Congress or the Supreme Court would succeed in repealing it. When Obama defeated Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney last Tuesday, the last, best hope of avoiding the law disappeared. Knowing many states hadn't made plans, the Obama administration has given them more time to hammer out the details.

As WUSF reports, Scott has taken few steps to create a blueprint for a state-run health insurance exchange. However, the Department of Health & Human Services decided last week to give governors a little more leeway, allowing states to submit their full plan by December 14 so long as they indicate their intention to do so by the initial November 16 deadline.

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