Health

Florida Gov. Rick Scott Limits Poor People's Access to ER

| by Michael Allen

The Obama administration has been accused by Republicans of setting up "death panels" that will supposedly "ration health care" for Americans via Obamacare.

That false claim was started by former half-term Alaska Governor Sarah Palin and called "lie of the year" in 2009 by Politifact.com.

However, Palin and other Republicans have been oddly silent about Florida Governor Rick Scott (R) limiting how many times poor people can go to a hospital emergency room.

Gov. Scott asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for permission to limit the number of times that people with Medicaid could go to the ER in 2012.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services refused to do so because Gov. Scott's request violated the Social Security Act by “arbitrarily denying coverage of a mandatory benefit and would not be in patients’ best interest," noted the Miami Herald.

Gov. Scott ignored the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid's decision and declared that people on Medicaid can only go to the ER six times a year, regardless of their medical condition.

In response, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid says it will withhold 10 percent of federal matching funds for Florida’s Medicaid program and escalate that penalty by 5 percent each quarter, reports the Bradenton Herald.

Governor Scott also rejected the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare.

The Scott administration claims that limiting emergency room medical care will encourage patients to stay out of expensive ERs and use primary care doctors instead.

While that would be cheaper, many doctor's offices do not accept Medicaid patients who often have no other choice but to use the ER.

Ironically, Republican President George W. Bush and GOP Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney told poor people to use the ER for health care, noted The Washington Post.

Sources: Bradenton Herald, Miami Herald, Politifact.com, The Washington Post