Charlie Crist blames Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s Medicaid policy for ‘six deaths a day’

By David Ferguson
Friday, February 7, 2014 12:33 EDT
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Charlie Crist via screencap
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Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist (D) said in an interview on Friday that the state’s current Tea Party Gov. Rick Scott (R) is to blame for the deaths of six Floridians every day due to his refusal to expand Medicaid.

Talking Points Memo reported that Crist, a former Republican, was talking to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd when he made the allegation.

A key component of President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA) — also known as Obamacare — and the effort to provide health coverage to the country’s uninsured citizens is the expansion of state Medicaid programs. When the Supreme Court took up the question in 2013 as to the constitutionality of the ACA, Chief Justice John Roberts inserted a provision that would allow some states to opt out of the federal Medicaid funds available for states.

Some 23 Republican-led states have chosen not to accept the funds, including Florida. A joint study between researchers at Harvard University and and the City University of New York estimated that some 17,000 low-income adults will die as a direct result of the Republicans’ decision to not expand the health care program.

Crist said that six of those people die in Florida every day.

Todd was skeptical, asking Crist if that was what he really meant to say.

“Wait a minute. So that’s a tough allegation,” he said. “You are connecting — you’re saying people are dying, and it’s the fault of not expanding Medicaid?”

“It’s not hard to figure that out. It’s common sense,” the Democratic gubernatorial candidate said. “Look at it. If people are sick, and they aren’t getting health care, what happens? They usually get sicker. Or they die. I mean, those are just the facts, Chuck. That’s what happens. In addition to it, it’s economically stupid. As a result, we’re not getting $51 billion over the next 10 years for the health care institutions in Florida. So the people get better health care, so that kids don’t get sick, that we take care of people. That’s what public servants are supposed to do. That’s why I’m running against Rick Scott, because he’s not a good servant.”

Crist hopes to defeat Scott in the general election this fall. He is currently polling slightly ahead of Scott in pre-election surveys.

Watch video about this story, embedded below:

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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