Could Scott see primary challenger after Medicaid move?

Published On: Feb 21 2013 04:31:18 PM EST   Updated On: Feb 21 2013 08:37:40 PM EST

VIDEO: A look at how Gov. Rick Scott could face a political challenge following Medicaid announcement.

Gov. Rick Scott has reversed course on accepting federal money to cover nearly a million more people under Medicaid. But the former darling of the tea party could see a challenge from his right.

"Quality healthcare should be accessible and affordable for all Floridians," Scott said.

Talk radio immediately began pummeling the governor.

"He's flipping, he's flopping, sorry to say," radio host Mark Levin said.

Two of the state's top Republicans call the decision wrong.

"The idea that the feds are going to provide this money free; it's not free," said Adam Putnam, agriculture commissioner.

"Again, I'm very skeptical," said Speaker of the House Rep. Will Weatherford.

Are either of them considering a primary challenge to Scott?

"This was late breaking news yesterday evening, and it's something that I worked on, some of these issues, when I was in Congress," Putnam said.

Weatherford just laughed at the question.

Speculation about a possible primary challenge is the talk of the lobbying crew in the state Capitol.

Political strategist Mac Stipanovich says accepting Medicaid does moves the governor to the political center as he faces re-election.

"So it's smart for that reason, provided he is not exposing his right flank to the conservative wing of the Republican Party, and only time will tell on that one," Stipanovich said.

Most Democrats are applauding the governor for the move. That's a clear sign that is not likely to play well if there is a GOP primary.

Scott has set a three-year limit on accepting the money, and during that period it will be paid 100 percent by the federal government. He says the plan will be re-evaluated then.


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