And then there were three: Florida will join Wisconsin and Louisiana in refusing to implement two features of the Affordable Care Act, said Gov. Rick Scott yesterday, stating that Florida does not have the money to expand Medicaid or to create a private insurance exchange, reports Reuters. The Medicaid expansion would cost the state $1.9 billion annually and cause insurance premiums to rise, said Scott, though the Orlando Sentinel notes that the expansion is not slated to kick in until 2014 and any additional expenses would be covered by the federal government for the first three years.
Florida's Medicaid program currently covers around 3.3 million families; the Sentinel reports that the expansion would add another 2 million people over the next six years. Florida economists peg the cost to the state of doing so at about half of what Scott quoted—$1 billion. "If there is any part of the law that requires action before November, Florida will comply, but he is committed to repealing the law before it ever takes effect," said a spokesman for Scott. The fact that all three states opting out have Republican governors has led some political analysts to say the announcements are more about politics than policy. State Democrats noted that Florida's heath-care groups would be more than happy to file lawsuits to force the state to comply with the Affordable Care Act.