Florida Gov. Rick Scott tells Newsmax TV
that the tactics used by the Obama administration to punish Florida for not expanding Medicaid are similar to what one would see on "The Sopranos," and are the reason for the lawsuit he is filing against the White House.
The decision by the Obama administration to withhold federal funding for hospital visits for low-income Florida residents is "outrageous," and in fact means that "they're not worried about poor," Scott told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Friday.
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The Republican governor is filing a lawsuit against the administration for withholding $1 billion
from the Sunshine State, money that is supposed to go into a low-income pool to help pay for hospital visits.
"We have an existing program that was started by the federal government in 2006," Scott said. "They are saying they're going to walk away from that program, step one, unless we expand Obamacare."
The administration's position, the Florida governor says, is "a complete violation of what [Chief] Justice [John] Roberts said in '[National Federation of Independent Business] vs. Sebelius' — he said that the federal government, particular the Obama administration, cannot use holding tactics to coerce the start to expand Obamacare.
"And that's exactly what they're doing," Scott said.
"If you look at what he's doing here, it sure looks like he's going to use all of his bullying tactics," he said. "This is like 'The Sopranos' — we don't have a choice."
The Florida Republican contends that "our state has the right to make our own decisions."
The Obama administration has said that expanding Medicaid would make the hospital funding program unnecessary, but Scott disagrees.
"These are not the individuals that would be covered by an extension of Obamacare," he said. "It is a totally different population than what would be taken care of in the expansion of Obamacare.
"When I came into office in 2011, we had a Medicaid program for those that can't afford their own healthcare that was growing at three times the cost, growing at three times our general revenue," he said.
"We did historic Medicaid reform ... and that program was approved by the federal government. We have a program now that our taxpayers can afford," Scott said. "We've gone now from a $4 billion budget deficit to a $1.8 billion surplus, and in the meantime paying out $7.5 million for the debt."
Even though the federal government has not kept up the funding for the low-income hospital fund, "they have not cut our federal taxes," Scott told Newsmax.
"We're paying these federal taxes, and then they're cutting back on programs that have helped our poor-income families," he said.
"I cannot imagine how they think they can bully states like what they're trying to do to Florida to force a bad bill, Obamacare, on our population," he said.
"We all know that Obamacare has not worked — costs have gone up, it's not good for our taxpayers, it's not good for our companies, it's not good for jobs," he added.
"So I'm going to stand up against the federal government for the citizens, the 20 million people that I represent in the great state of Florida."
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