Reporting Tim Kephart
TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – Florida Governor Rick Scott, one of the biggest opponents of the Affordable Care Act has announced that he has agreed to expand Medicaid coverage as long as federal officials agree to pick up the cost of the expansion.
The reversal by Scott, who initially refused to expand Medicaid under the law commonly known as Obamacare, will make him the most vocal opponent of the law to accept the Medicaid expansion.
As recently as July 2012, Scott was opposing expanding Medicaid saying it would cost the state up to $1.9 billion.
Florida was also the state that led the charge in the legal fight to overturn the Affordable Care Act, which was ultimately upheld by the Supreme Court. Scott himself ran against Obamacare and helped start campaigns against the law.
The decision by Scott to expand Medicaid could provide health insurance to an additional 1.3 million people in the state of Florida.
Scott’s decision makes him the seventh Republican governor to endorse or accept the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare.
Still, House Speaker Will Weatherford said he respects Scott’s decision, but that ultimately the Legislature will make the decision.
“I am personally skeptical that this inflexible law will improve the quality of healthcare in our state and ensure our long-term financial stability,” Weatherford said Wednesday.