Florida's Scott Defends Medicaid Expansion

Monday, 08 Apr 2013 02:01 PM

By Cyrus Afzali and John Bachman

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott Monday defended his decision to expand the state’s Medicaid system under Obamacare, saying that while the healthcare law isn’t perfect, it’s currently the only choice.

In an interview with Newsmax TV, Scott said the decision was easy one for him because the state will be able to cover more people and the program will be covered by federal dollars.

“As long as the federal government is going to pay 100 percent, then I cannot in good conscience stand in the way of some people getting care that are uninsured,” he said.

Story continues below video.

Addressing the state’s economy, the Florida Republican said he’s proud of the 300,000 private sector jobs that have been created during his tenure and predicted that Florida’s unemployment rate would fall below the national average by the third quarter of this year.

"In the four years before I became governor, the state lost 832,000 jobs, unemployment went from 3.5 to 11.1 percent, the housing market collapsed and we increased our debt by $5.2 billion," he said. "I said we’ve got to cut regulations and we cut 2,300. We streamlined the permitting process so you can open up your business faster and brought in people in my administration who like business people.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

"We went out, competed and called on companies," he continued. "In my campaign, I laid out seven steps to 700,000 jobs and in just over two years, the private sector has generated 300,000. So we’re clearly going to make it."

Given Florida’s Hispanic population, Scott is also watching to see what unfolds from the immigration reform negotiations. He believes the primary focus should be on creating an effective work visa program.

"We should have an immigration policy that Americans understand and foreigners understand,” he said. “We ought to work on three things: Secure our border, have a logical immigration plan that gets the right workers into the country but make sure terrorists don’t come in, and have a work visa program that absolutely works.”

Scott, up for re-election in 2014, said he doesn’t plan a dramatic departure from the principles of his first campaign, which focused on jobs and improving education.

"Last year, we increased K-12 education funding by more than $1 billion because we watched how we spent our money in other agencies. This year, my proposal is for another billion increase in K-12 because it’s the right thing to do for our children," he said.

"As part of that, all our classroom teachers will be getting a pay raise of $2,500. Why? We’re now No. 6 in education quality and our teachers are doing a great job there. According to the National Council on Teacher Quality, we have the most effective teachers in the country."

If re-elected Scott plans to capitalize on the state’s improved fiscal situation by investing additional funds in programs that help the disabled and to ensure the state’s continued economic competitiveness.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

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