The re-election last month of President Barack Obama, many political analysts say, proves that contrary to then-President Bill Clinton's 1996 "the era of big government is over" declaration, a majority of Americans favor a generous social welfare system paid for with high tax rates on the rich.
Closer to home, one seeming sign of this new reality was Gov. Rick Scott's apparent decision to end his opposition to expanding eligibility in the Florida Medicaid program under the terms of the Obama-backed Affordable Health Care Act. Prior to the 2012 election, Scott had been wary of the cost of the Medicaid expansion because under ObamaCare the federal government would only foot the full bid for Medicaid expansion for a few years, leaving Tallahassee to pay an increasing share of the cost.
After the election, Scott, perhaps thinking of his 2014 re-election prospects, signaled he might consider reversing his opposition to Medicaid expansion. Scott plans to meet Jan. 7 with U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to discuss the issue.
This week, however, the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration released a revised estimate of how much a fully implemented Medicaid expansion would cost Florida over 10 years, $26 billion, which is more than three times more than the $8 billion the state estimated in August.
If he believes the AHCA estimate, Scott may have a hard time explaining why Medicaid expansion, at three times the cost he once found unacceptable, is now a good idea.