CBS Confronts Rick Scott: If ObamaCare 'Is Not the Right Way to Do Things, What Is?'

CBS This Morning went after Governor Rick Scott (R-Fla.) on Thursday, throwing an Orlando Sentinel op-ed and a PolitiFact report at him and challenging him to answer just why ObamaCare wasn't the best option for his state to follow.

CBS questioned the governor over his opposition to Obamacare's expansion of Medicaid in Florida, and his refusal to follow the law. "But you have the third highest rate of residents without health insurance," CBS's Jeff Glor told Scott. "So I wonder if the ACA is not the right way to do things, what is?"

Glor also cited two outlets slamming the governor's claims and challenged Scott to respond to the "wide range of sources" that claim he's wrong.

"Governor, the Orlando Sentinel says you've greatly exaggerated the projected costs of Medicaid. PolitiFact recently looked at this, said you've overstated the cost. How do you respond to the wide range of sources that say you simply have these numbers wrong?" he asked.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on CBS This Morning on July 5 at 8:00 a.m. EDT, is as follows:

ERICA HILL: Republican Rick Scott was elected governor of Florida as an outspoken opponent of President Obama's health care law. One week after the Supreme Court upheld it, the former hospital CEO says his state will not comply with the law. Governor Scott joins us this morning from Tallahassee. Nice to have you with us, sir. Good morning.

Gov. RICK SCOTT (R-Fla.): Good morning. I hope (Inaudible) – everybody comes down and enjoys our beaches.

HILL: (Laughing) Everybody can use a little dip to cool off these days. Governor tell us –

SCOTT: It would be nice.

HILL: Tell us, governor. Why do you oppose the expansion of Medicaid in Florida, and refuse this extra federal funding?

SCOTT: Here's the problem we're dealing with in Florida. Medicaid has been growing at three and one half times our general revenue. And so it's making it very difficult to fund our K-12 education. So if we go and now do an expansion, rather than do what our citizens want. Our citizens want jobs. So that's what I'm focused on, get our citizens jobs so they can afford insurance. This expansion is going to cost both the federal government, which is our tax money, and the state a lot of money. We can't afford it. We already went through this experience with the stimulus where they put money into out education system, then took is away and our schools relied on it. I don't want to do the same thing to our citizens.

HILL: So you're saying this isn't even an issue of the amount of money, or where it comes from. But it's simply that no matter what, your taxpayers have to pay for it. Is that your issue?

SCOTT: Yeah, I mean, it's one – it's our tax money. It goes to the federal government, they give it back. It's a significant expansion. We're already struggling. Medicaid has been growing in our state at three and one half times our general revenue. If you talk to our citizens, they want a job, they want to be able to make sure that their kids can get a great education. Every time we expand Medicaid, we make it more difficult to fund our education system, which is very important to our citizens.

JEFF GLOR: Governor, the Orlando Sentinel says you've greatly exaggerated the projected costs of Medicaid. PolitiFact recently looked at this, said you've overstated the cost. How do you respond to the wide range of sources that say you simply have these numbers wrong?

SCOTT: Well, there's -- there's, you know, if you look at the Wall Street Journal, I think their article, I think it was Tuesday. They said for the first six years it would the state 1.2 to 2.5 billion dollars. Cost the federal government 20 to 25, I think it was, billion dollars. It depends on what number you want to use. How fast you will want it implemented. But the truth is, it's a lot of money. Whatever the number is, it's a lot of money. We're already struggling. My first budget was a 3.7 billion dollar budget deficit. My second one was a 1.7 billion dollar budget deficit. So we're struggling to make sure we fund our K-12. Any expansion of Medicaid, which is already growing at three and one half times our general revenue is going to be tough. We want jobs. We've had the biggest drop in unemployment in the country since I became governor, other than one state. That's what we need to be doing. Get our citizens back to work so they can afford their own health care. The problem with ObamaCare is it doesn't deal with the core issue. The core issue of the health care reform should be how do we reduce the cost of health care? This doesn't do anything to reduce the cost of health care. That's what we should be doing. Make sure people know what things cost in health care. Give people more choice. Make sure that individuals get the same tax breaks as employers so you own your own policy. Reward people for taking care of themselves. Those are the things we ought to be doing, and those are the things we're going to be doing in Florida.

GLOR: And all that sounds – governor, that sounds nice. But you have the third highest rate of residents without health insurance. So I wonder if the ACA is not the right way to do things, what is?

SCOTT: Well the most important thing is working on getting everybody a job. So we still have 800,000 people out of work. But we've had a dramatic drop in unemployment. So that's the most important thing we'd do. And then make sure the industry focuses on reducing cost. Look at how you can, through competition, drive down the cost. Make sure you allow people to buy the insurance they want to buy. Those are the things that are going to make it easier for people to get insurance. Not a federal program that they're not going to be able to afford, and we can't afford, as taxpayers of this state.

GAYLE KING: You know, the big story that we keep hearing is that Florida is certainly going to be a swing state in this election. Right now, the numbers show that they're very close. But I believe that President Obama is ahead at this time. What do you think Governor Romney needs to do?

SCOTT: I think it's going to be no different than my race in 2010. That was all decided based on who had the best jobs plan. I mean, it's the biggest issue we have in our country. It's still the biggest issue in our state. We need more jobs. Which approach is going to be the best approach to more jobs? I think President Obama is going to suffer because jobs haven't come back. Governor Romney has got to show a plan where Floridians say hey gosh, I believe in that and that's how we're going to get back to work.

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014