When Florida Gov. Rick Scott endorsed the Medicaid expansion last month, it was a huge turnaround: He had initially been one of the health law’s harshest critics.
While that was a major moment for the Affordable Care Act, it did not secure the Sunshine State’s participation in a Medicaid expansion expected to cover 1.3 million Americans.
One less-noticed factor in Florida — or in any other state — is that it’s not just the governor who has to get on board with expanding Medicaid. The state legislature generally has to sign off on the program and authorize the new spending it would entail.
In Florida, WFSU’s Lynn Hatter reports, the Republican-controlled Florida House of Representatives has signaled it “won’t go along” with the governor’s Medicaid plans:
People tend to think that governors (or presidents) can do whatever they want. So if the governor supports something then it must be happening. But they tend to forget that a governor (or president) can’t write laws they can only sign or veto laws produced by the legislature.
So true. This lack of political understanding is not good for our democracy. Even journalists suffer from it.