After Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott came under fire this week for using questionable cost estimates to justify refusing to expand Medicaid, his administration has changed course and puts the new price tag at $21 billion less than he'd been claiming.
Florida's agency managing the Medicaid program released Wednesday evening a new estimate that Medicaid expansion would cost the state $5 billion. The Florida legislature will consider Medicaid expansion when the new session begins in March, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Scott had been arguing against the option of expanding Medicaid under Obamacare saying it would cost Florida a whopping $26 billion over 10 years, even though his staff was warned that number was way off weeks ago by the state's chief economist, Health News Florida reported Tuesday. Scott repeated that figure in a Tampa Bay Times op-ed on Sunday and again at at a Washington press conference after meeting with federal health care officials on Monday.
The $26 billion figure ignored the fact that under Obamacare, the federal government would pay for most of the state's Medicaid expansion, Health News Florida reported. Meanwhile, other estimates of the cost have been dramatically lower. If Florida expanded Medicaid, about one million uninsured people would gain coverage at a 10-year cost to the state of around $1 billion, according to a study released by two nonpartisan research groups, the Urban Institute and Kaiser Family Foundation.