Rick Scott vetoes dental care program for the poor

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Gov. Rick Scott Thursday vetoed legislation that could have helped poor and rural Floridians get dental care, saying it held too much potential for abuse of public dollars.

The bill (HB 139), filed by state Rep. Travis Cummings, had been passed unanimously by both chambers of the Legislature in the 2016 Legislative Session.

It created a grants program aimed at dentists to serve patients in counties with a shortage of dentists or in otherwise “medically underserved areas.” The grants, anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000, were to be administered by the Department of Health.

In his veto letter, Scott said he agreed that “maintaining good oral health is integral to the overall health of Florida families.” But he added he could not “support a program that does not place appropriate safeguards on taxpayer investments.”

The bill “does not require dentists who receive taxpayer dollars to hire a specific number of new employees or to serve a certain number of low-income patients each year,” Scott said. “Furthermore, the bill opens the door for state dollars to be used to incentivize other high-income professionals.”

He also said the measure was “duplicative of existing programs.”

“Pediatric and adult dental benefits are provided for Medicaid recipients through the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Program and pediatric dental services are available through Florida KidCare,” Scott said. “Furthermore, the large majority of County Health Departments and Community Health Centers provide Florida families in rural communities access to dental services.”

Cummings, an Orange Park Republican, was on a flight and not available for comment till later today, an aide said.

A representative of the Florida Dental Association said the group was “disappointed” because the legislation “would have provided significant support for promoting dental care, economic development and job growth in underserved areas of Florida.”

“The challenges of accessing routine dental care have critically impacted the health and success of Florida communities, especially in rural areas,” said Joe Anne Hart, the FDA’s Director of Governmental Affairs. “The results are repeated visits to the emergency room for preventable dental problems, missed days of school due to toothaches, and lower GPAs and graduation rates.”

“We will continue to advocate for statewide policies and programs to improve oral health for all Floridians,” Hart said.

This is now the second bill that Scott vetoed from the 2016 Legislative Session. The first (HB 1355) would have created a Gainesville Regional Utilities Authority and authorized its board members to be paid an annual salary of $18,000.

He also is being heavily lobbied to veto a measure (SB 668) aimed at overhauling alimony and child custody in the state. He has until next Tuesday (April 19) to act.

Jim Rosica

Jim Rosica is the Tallahassee-based Senior Editor for Florida Politics. He previously was the Tampa Tribune’s statehouse reporter. Before that, he covered three legislative sessions in Florida for The Associated Press. Jim graduated from law school in 2009 after spending nearly a decade covering courts for the Tallahassee Democrat, including reporting on the 2000 presidential recount. He can be reached at [email protected]


32 comments

  • Patrick Lanigan

    April 14, 2016 at 6:41 pm

    I believe his veto is good.

  • Mayberry

    April 14, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    In his veto letter, Scott said he agreed that “maintaining good oral health is integral to the overall health of Florida families.” But he added he could not “support a program that does not place appropriate safeguards on taxpayer investments.”

    Oh, you mean like the safeguards placed on taxpayer investments everytime you give a corporate handout. Get the hell out of here. Wish I could’ve been at Starbucks that day. You’re more than an asshole.

    • ronnie daugherty

      April 15, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      we need a new real caring governor now

  • Michael Rudnin

    April 15, 2016 at 11:29 am

    This is what conservative politics gets you: pain and suffering, while throwing away prevention from unnecessary long term expense. So utterly ridiculous, it’s maddening …

  • elizabeth curle

    April 15, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    just add more flouride to the water, it’ll calm them down. Voldemort you are an ass.

  • k h

    April 15, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Why do you guys vote for guys like this in your state then?

    • Daniel

      April 22, 2016 at 11:10 am

      it just proves how bad the education system is in Florida. Bad enough that folks are to dumb to vote for their own needs instead of what the party they are in wants

    • Lyn Williams

      April 24, 2016 at 8:41 pm

      It is unbelievable to us, & we voted against R. Scott at the time, that this man got in again. Why do we as residents of Florida have to continue with him as our Governor? Have charges brought against this “Man”, have him removed from office. We need to impeach this cold, selfish, conniving, narcissistic, evil, bad excuse for a Governor. It shouldn’t be difficult to have him impeached….the Senate must know what is really going on. they need to listen to us, the people of Florida! It is long past due that we, the people are heard.

  • Richard Crooks

    April 16, 2016 at 10:49 pm

    How can voters keep voting for the same pieces of trash and not take a stand. Where in hell is their back bone.

  • Ray Chandler

    April 16, 2016 at 11:44 pm

    A good veto. Why should taxpayers be on the hook for these parasites’ dental care? Or any of their health care? We have no obligation or responsibility for them. They are entitled to just as much health care as THEY can pay for.

    • Michael Case

      April 17, 2016 at 8:49 am

      You are a reprehensible human being.
      Die

    • Adrianjohnson

      April 18, 2016 at 10:57 am

      How much money do u make a year?..Doing pretty good under Obamas polices I see..well I hope God doesn’t rotten out all of your teeth..or u get in a car wreck n loose em all..
      Because when u open yo mouth on the side of the devil..and work for him..you’ll find your money where your mouth is quick..we all are Gods children..so watch your mouth..before u get a quick reminder that you’ll only flesh too..what’s giving can easily be taken

    • Daniel

      April 22, 2016 at 11:11 am

      Glad you are not my neighbor

  • Larry Murphy

    April 17, 2016 at 3:51 am

    Scott is a con artist that should have gone down in 2014. Put him in prison after his time is up being governor of Florida. Rick Scott for prison 2019.

  • Barb McMahon Boulette

    April 18, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Is this the same Rick Scott whose company bilked medicare out of multimillions and HE is worried about the potential for abuse of taxpayer money?????

  • Marty Martin

    April 19, 2016 at 10:50 am

    WORST Florida governor – ever!

  • Jim Goldey

    April 21, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    We are blessed to have a governor who is wiser than the collective legislature, quickly noting that the poor unwashed are not to be trusted under any circumstances.

    • Daniel

      April 22, 2016 at 11:13 am

      You sound like a very good Christian

  • Richard Schultz

    April 21, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    Nobody has Dental..
    Not Seniors…
    Not Veterans
    Not most workers
    So explain why they should pay for someone else’s?

    • Daniel

      April 22, 2016 at 11:15 am

      I have dental insurance but I get that from the union I belonged to when I had to work

  • Daniel

    April 22, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Well if anyone would know about fraud and stealing from government programs it would be RICK

  • Lyn Williams

    April 24, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    It is unbelievable to us, & we voted against R. Scott at the time, that this man got in again. Why do we as residents of Florida have to continue with him as our Governor? Have charges brought against this “Man”, have him removed from office. We need to impeach this cold, selfish, conniving, narcissistic, evil, bad excuse for a Governor. It shouldn’t be difficult to have him impeached….the Senate must know what is really going on. they need to listen to us, the people of Florida!

    • Lyn Williams

      April 24, 2016 at 8:38 pm

      It is unbelievable to us, & we voted against R. Scott at the time, that this man got in again. Why do we as residents of Florida have to continue with him as our Governor? Have charges brought against this “Man”, have him removed from office. We need to impeach this cold, selfish, conniving, narcissistic, evil, bad excuse for a Governor. It shouldn’t be difficult to have him impeached….the Senate must know what is really going on. they need to listen to us, the people of Florida! It is long past due that we, the people are heard.

  • Lyn Williams

    April 24, 2016 at 8:35 pm

    It is unbelievable to us, & we voted against R. Scott at the time, that this man got in again. Why do we as residents of Florida have to continue with him as our Governor? Have charges brought against this “Man”, have him removed from office. We need to impeach this cold, selfish, conniving, narcissistic, evil, bad excuse for a Governor. It shouldn’t be difficult to have him impeached….the Senate must know what is really going on. they need to listen to us, the people of Florida!

  • Lyn Williams

    April 24, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    It is unbelievable to us, & we voted against R. Scott at the time, that this man got in again. Why do we as residents of Florida have to continue with him as our Governor? Have charges brought against this “Man”, have him removed from office. We need to impeach this cold, selfish, conniving, narcissistic, evil, bad excuse for a Governor. It shouldn’t be difficult to have him impeached….the Senate must know what is really going on. they need to listen to us, the people of Florida! It is long past due that we, the people are heard.
    reply

    • Richard Crooks

      April 25, 2016 at 9:03 am

      Who in hell voted for this piece of trash?? Are there know one with any brains in Florida and when he gets through screwing you he will be off to Washington to try and screw the nation.

  • Kathleen Thorpe

    April 25, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    You have a very small heart Mister Scott! Do the right thing! HB-139 deserves to be pasted.

Comments are closed.


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