Rick Scott denounces White House ‘lies’ amid fight over ‘charity hospital’ funding
Sen. Rick Scott. Image via AP.

Rick Scott
Are states being punished for not expanding Medicaid?

U.S. Sen. Rick Scott on Tuesday continued to slam the Joe Biden administration for what he sees as misleading and dangerous claims regarding the Build Back Better plan.

“The American public is fed up with Joe Biden and his constant lies,” Scott told a national television audience.

In an appearance on the Fox Business Channel, Scott denounced statements from White House press secretary Jen Psaki as “fake” and “constantly a lie.”

Psaki claimed the Congressional Budget Office scoring of the Build Back Better bill was “fake” because it assumed social programs in the plan would be permanent. CBO scoring says the “true” cost of the bill is $4.9 trillion, not the $3 trillion claimed by the Biden administration.

Scott’s take, meanwhile, was that the fakery comes from the White House itself.

“I think it’s fake what she says. Because what comes out of her mouth is constantly a lie. Remember how the infrastructure bill was paid for? It wasn’t. Remember how this was paid for? It’s not. Remember how they’re not going to raise taxes on middle income? They are,” Scott said.

Scott contrasted tax cuts for “the richest families” in blue states with cuts to “charity care” in Florida and other states that did not expand Medicaid.

“You can’t make this stuff up,” Scott told host Maria Bartiromo. “They’re just lying about this like they lie and say the border is secure.”

The Senator expanded on the issue with so-called “charity hospitals,” a matter he has spotlighted for weeks. The Build Back Better plan’s cuts to Florida’s Low Income Pool (LIP) and Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments (DSH) would amount to $31 million of the current $251 million in funding.

Scott resisted Medicaid expansion as Governor, and as Senator, he seems agnostic to that having had any consequences.

“Think about it. You’re in a hospital; let’s say you’re in inner-city Orlando and Joe Biden says we’re going to give you less money to take care of the poor. How does that make any sense,” Scott said.

“You feel sorry for these people that need to rely on these charity hospitals for care, but you’ve got to make sure they’re funded,” Scott added.

The Senator vowed that he would “make sure everybody in this country knows what the Democrats are doing.”

“The cut in charity care is for the poor in red states,” Scott asserted.

The Senator has presented this aspect of the Biden plan as a way of punishing Florida for weeks now, warning interest groups, such as hospital executives, of the proposed 12.5% cut in payments to states that didn’t expand Medicaid.

“The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has also estimated that the combined policy of DSH and LIP cuts will cut $34.5 billion over the next ten years. This means that approximately $30 billion will be cut from Medicaid uncompensated care from four states (Texas, Florida, Tennessee, and Kansas). Florida has the second largest UCP (Uncompensated Care Pool) of the four states, and the impact to our state will be significant,” Scott warned in a letter last week.

One solution, notes the Kaiser Family Foundation, would be for Florida and other states to take advantage of federal incentives to expand Medicaid.

“The recent COVID-19 relief legislation — the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) — increased the amount of financial assistance available to low-income Marketplace enrollees, making those with incomes between 100% and 150% of the poverty level eligible for $0 premium silver plans with very low deductibles. But, the ARPA did not extend these subsidies below the poverty level, meaning the Medicaid coverage gap persists in non-expansion states. The ARPA did, however, include additional temporary fiscal incentives for states to newly adopt the Medicaid expansion,” the group explained.

However, Scott’s apparent hope is that the hospital compensation provisions don’t make the Senate version of the legislation. Some Democrats, such as U.S. Sens. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff from Georgia, who object to language in the House bill, support Scott’s optimism.

“Reducing federal funds to hospitals and providers can be detrimental to their survival, and in the midst of a global pandemic, we should not be imposing additional financial constraints,” the lawmakers asserted, as quoted by Fox News.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for FloridaPolitics.com since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


One comment

  • Concern Citizen

    December 15, 2021 at 9:26 am

    It is funny how Scott never called out Trump for his abounding lies. Even DeSantis thinks Scott is a fool.

Comments are closed.


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