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Medicaid Expansion In Florida Doesn't Sway Texas Or Virginia

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If you were expecting Florida GOP Gov. Rick Scott's huge about-face on health care reform's Medicaid expansion to inspire other stalwart Obamacare opponents to follow his lead, you may find yourself disappointed.

Immediately after news of Scott's decision to broaden Medicaid to anyone who earns up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $15,282 for a single person this year, the Republican governors of Texas and Virginia reiterated that they're not Rick Scott or any of the other GOP governors backing the Medicaid expansion.

Down in Austin, a Perry spokeswoman told the Texas Tribune Scott's announcement didn't make a difference.

If the pressure is getting to Perry -- in addition to Scott, six other Republican governors, from Ohio's John Kasich to Arizona's Jan Brewer, now support accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid to cover poor adults -- he's not letting on.



"The governor's position has not changed," his spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said on Wednesday night. "It would be irresponsible to add more Texans and dump more taxpayer dollars into an unsustainable system that is broken and already consumes a quarter of our budget."

Not a lot of wiggle room there. Of course, just last July Scott was saying essentially the same thing.

So far, the chief executives of 23 states and the District of Columbia support expanding Medicaid and 13 Republican governors are on record opposing it, not counting McDonnell.

McDonnell took to Twitter less than an hour after Scott's press conference ended to make plain that the Medicaid expansion isn't welcome in Richmond.


In McDonnell's case, there could be a fight brewing. The Virginia Senate, which is evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, adopted a budget this month that would enable the Medicaid expansion to move forward.

So McDonnell also fired off a letter Wednesday to Virginia Senate Finance Committee Chairman Walter Stosch (R) and House of Delegates Appropriations Committee Chairman Lacey Putney (R) making a detailed case against expanding Medicaid and asking them not to take any steps that would impede his ability to extract "concessions" from federal authorities regarding the state's management of the program (h/t Politico Pulse):

I am most concerned that some may not fully understand the scope and magnitude of reform I believe is necessary to create the kind of cost-effective Medicaid plan that we can build upon. In my view, reform is far more than simply receiving a waiver from the federal government. It also requires completing state-based reforms, amending the [Affordable Care Act] to provide more flexibility and waiver authority, creating state and federal assurances that the current or expanded program will not break the state budget or add to the federal debt, and facilitating reforms in the private sector health delivery system to reduce costs.

Read McDonnell's letter to the legislators:

Gov. Bob McDonnell's Letter to Virginia Legislators on Medicaid