Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is going after Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) for failing to accept the much-needed health grants offered through the Affordable Care Act. Scott has turned down the funds over his objections to the constitutionality of the measure, but as Sebelius points out in this interview with iVillage, the state’s refusal to implement the law would only invite greater intervention from the federal government:
SEBELIUS: I think it’s unfortunate. We have certainly seen this play out here in Washington in the past month or two, where there are some newly elected officials on the Republican side that have decided that their political ideology is more important than anything — more important than the health needs of their citizens, more important than the economic stability of the economy, more important than the future of jobs in America — so I think it is very unfortunate for citizens of Florida. [...]
The irony in the way the law is written is that if Governor Scott chooses in Florida not to move ahead, the Affordable Care Act directs the Department of Health and Human Services to [implement it]. So the citizens of Florida will have the advantage of an exchange… The women of Florida will have the same kind of preventive health plans that everyone else will around the country….The governor has really just ceded his own authority to the federal government. Kind of an irony for someone who believes that the states should be deciding what’s going on.
Scott has missed out on up to $52 million in federal funding and is one of the few governors to reject funds with which the state could establish an insurance exchanges. Florida has also come under harsh criticism for refusing to accept $3.4 million for home health visits that could have been used to reduce widespread child abuse and neglect. It suffers from the fourth-highest unemployment rate and has the second-highest rate of people without insurance. Here is a list of some of the grants Scott has rejected: