Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Governor Scott's press office touts editorial love for his stance on Medicaid expansion

Posted By on Wed, Feb 27, 2013 at 4:00 PM

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It can't always be easy working in Gov. Rick Scott's press office. Derided with intensity by liberals long before he beat Alex Sink in November of 2010, his appeal — particularly in the Tampa Bay area — seemed to plunge precipitously after he rejected more than $2 billion in federal funding for high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando. His decision came despite the bipartisan pleading from the mayors and business officials in Tampa, Lakeland and Orlando, and it's put him in a hole in the I-4 corridor that he's found difficult to overcome.

But that's so 2011-ish. Now the governor is handing out bonuses to school teachers, increasing funding for education and transportation, and in case you missed it, agreeing to work with Barack Obama on expanding Medicaid in the Sunshine State.

His fellow Republicans — Attorney General Pam Bondi is the latest to take public whacks at Scott — continue to bash him for his decision. But let's admit it, the man has come a long way since he said, "That's still Florida taxpayers paying that," when asked about Medicaid expansion. "It's not like there's free federal money. Every program cuts back and you create this dependency and then they cut back like they did with our schools."

Since his stunning Medicaid announcement, the governor has received praise from the not so usual suspects: the editorial pages of some of the state's leading newspapers.

Today, the governor's press office issued a release titled, "WHAT THEY ARE SAYING..." The release quotes the Tribune, the Times, the Miami Herald, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, as well as the conservative news website Newsmax and Sarasota GOP Chair Joe Gruters.

The release also quotes Marco Rubio, "Gov. Scott made a difficult decision that highlights the need for reforming Medicaid and giving states more flexibility."

However the full post on www.nationalreview.com is titled, "Rubio wary of Scott's Medicaid Expansion," and quotes Rubio's spokesman Alex Conant as making the aforementioned remark. Conant added:

Specifically, Senator Rubio is concerned that without future reforms, the decision will leave the state of Florida on the hook for billions of dollars of unfunded mandates in the future. Senator Rubio remains committed to repealing Obamacare and reforming Medicaid.

The bigger point to emphasize is how the governor is owning his decision to expand Medicaid, despite the blowback he's received from Tallahassee and throughout GOP precincts in the state. It also demonstrates how Scott has (depending on your perspective) either evolved or devolved in terms of becoming a conventional politician, working to get public opinion on his side. During his campaign for governor less than three years ago, Scott blew off the editorial page editor meetings, and Alex Sink captured virtually all of the newspaper endorsements in the 2010 election.

But 2013 is a totally different scene.

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