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Gov. Rick Scott continues to oppose the national health care law and said Friday that Florida would be opting out of parts of the law.
In a blitz of media appearances over the week, Scott said the state would not expand Medicaid, an existing health insurance program for the very poor. He also said he wouldn’t allow the state to open health insurance "exchanges," places where consumers will comparison shop for health insurance.
Scott also repeated the claim that the health care law rations care. Scott said driving down the costs of health care should be left to the free market, and that expanding government-run health insurance programs to the uninsured was a bad idea.
"Insurance is not the answer. (The answer is to) drive down the cost of health care. You have insurance in places like U.K. and Canada, where they say, oh we cover you. But you don’t get it, because it’s rationed. That’s what’s going to happen," Scott said in an interview on Fox News on July 2.
Earlier in the interview, Scott said: "Look, government health care programs everywhere in the world do three things. They promise you the world. They say, oh we’re going to cover everything. Then what they do is they run out of money and they underpay hospitals, doctors, and guess what happens? They don’t want to take care of you. There’s fewer of them, just like what’s happened in England, Canada, places like that."
Scott’s answer is problematic on several levels. For one thing, people in the United Kingdom and Canada do receive care. Sometimes patients have to wait for appointments, but they do receive care.
More significantly, Scott implied that the types of systems in Canada and the United Kingdom are what’s going to happen under the current health care law. That’s not the case.
In Canada, the government pays the bills for health care for everyone. The closest comparison for this country would be if Medicare (the health insurance program for people over age 65) were extended to everyone. In the United Kingdom, the government runs the National Health Service, directly owning hospitals and employing doctors.
The health care law does neither of those two things. Instead, it leaves in place the current systems of Medicare, Medicaid and employer-provided insurance. It expands Medicaid coverage for the very poor, and offers credits to people of modest means to buy insurance on their own. To make those purchases easier, it creates health insurance exchanges, where plans have to meet minimum standards and explain their coverage in plain language.
On the specific charge of "rationing," we’ve fact-checked several claims about the health care law, that various parts of the law result in rationing. Scott’s statement doesn’t refer to a specific part of the law.
Here’s the bottom line: The health care law rations care no more nor less than the current health care system does.
The current health care system -- whether it’s private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid -- does not allow people to have all the health care as they want. Under the new law, people still can’t have all the health care they want.
We rate Scott’s statement False.
Fox News, Florida refusing to implement part of health care reform law, July 2, 2012
Health Affairs, Toward Higher-Performance Health Systems: Adults’ Health Care Experiences In Seven Countries, 2007
PolitiFact, ‘Rationing’ and other scare words, Aug. 25, 2009
PolitiFact, Pat Boone says IPAB rations care to pay for 'wasteful' spending, March 15, 2012
PolitiFact, Top 5 falsehoods about the health care law, June 27, 2012
Time magazine, Is Britain's Health-Care System Really That Bad?, Aug. 18, 2009
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