Gov. Rick Scott highlighted the importance of federal support for two Medicaid waivers that will grant the state greater flexibility to address cost, quality and access in healthcare at the Miami Herald editorial board meeting earlier today. The Medicaid waivers were originally designed under former Florida Governor Jeb Bush in 2005. Governor Scott secured federal support for the waivers last month, which he stressed was of critical importance to transforming the state’s traditional Medicaid program by allowing greater flexibility at the state level. (A waiver signifies federal approval for states to utilize flexibilities not specifically provided in federal law.)
Governor Scott said, “…I haven’t seen the specific language what the Senate wants to do, but here’s what I put out. As you know, I thought there was a better way to improve healthcare. I believe in the free markets. I believe that it will keep the cost down or drive it down, and as you control the growth rate of the cost of healthcare, people can afford it better. That’s personally what I would do and that’s what I’ve tried to do in my business life. The law passed, the President’s law passed, the Supreme Court upheld it, and Governor Romney was going to repeal it, and he lost.
“What I did is, I sat down with Secretary Sebelius the first part of January and Marilyn Tavenner who runs Medicare and Medicaid and I let them know how important the waivers were to us and we talked about how much flexibility in whatever they are going to do. The waivers that we received are significant to us. Historically, Medicaid has been growing at three and a half times our general revenue. So, we have got to come up with a system that, one, the taxpayers can afford and, two, we can provide access to good quality healthcare. Both of these things, you have to try and do, which is not easy. We got the waivers and that is going to help us a lot.," said Scott.