Governors Rick Scott and Terry Branstad on Welfare, Medicaid Reforms: 'We Can't Afford It'
Governors Rick Scott (R-FL) and Terry Branstad (R-IA) joined Fox News Sunday to discuss how the Obama administration's policies are affecting their states. Today’s host, Brit Hume, asked the Iowa governor about the new set of waivers from the federal government in regards to the work requirements under welfare benefits. Gov. Branstad said, “Unfortunately, I think this is a huge step in the wrong direction.”
He recalled working with former Governors Tommy Thompson (R-WI) and John Engler (R-MI) and the Clinton administration in the 90s, to move welfare from an entitlement program to one that would help people with job training and permanent employment. He said of the Obama administration’s plans for welfare, “I think it’s illegal because it’s in the law – I don’t think they have a right to waive it [work requirements]. I know Tommy Thompson is saying he’s thinking of suing him over it
… The focus needs to be on helping people to move from welfare to work, not making people permanently dependent on the government welfare program.”
Gov. Rick Scott said, “Personal responsibility is very important … We don’t want people to stay on welfare, we want them to get back to work.” He agreed with Gov. Branstad that what’s needed is more flexibility when it comes to Medicaid because he says, “that’s just killing our state budgets.”
The Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government can’t require states to take on additional Medicaid patients. Gov. Scott weighed in, saying, “The federal government can’t afford this, we can’t afford it. It doesn’t make any sense to do this expansion. What they ought to be doing is … creating more choice, creating more competition, give individuals the same tax breaks as employers so you own your own policy.”
He added, “This is just another government program where the federal government will run out of money and they’ll put it on the states again. We can’t afford it in Florida. Medicaid in our state is growing at three and a half times our general revenue.”