Yesterday Florida Governor Rick Scott—an outspoken opponent of the Affordable Care Act—announced his support for the law’s expansion of health coverage through the Medicaid program, joining the growing ranks of conservative governors who have concluded that it’s just too good a deal to turn down.
The Supreme Court decision that upheld the health care law also allowed states to choose whether to accept the federal money to expand coverage through Medicaid. But if a state chooses to turn down the federal money, some of that state’s poorest and most vulnerable residents will fall into a “coverage gap”. In other words, they will not get any help toward affording health insurance, while people with higher incomes will still get help through the law.
In Florida alone, 613,000 uninsured women stand to gain health coverage under Gov. Scott’s proposal. Combined with other reforms in the health care law, this coverage expansion would reduce the percentage of uninsured women in Florida from 25.3 percent to 5.8 percent. Considering that the federal government has promised to pay 100 percent of costs in the first years, and at least 90 percent after that, it simply doesn’t make sense for states to turn down the money.