TAMPA - The effort to expand Medicaid in Florida as part of the President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act took a hit Monday when a State House committee voted to reject the federal money that would pay for most of it.
It's not over yet, but the estimated 900,000 Floridians who would be added to the Medicaid rolls shouldn't count on the law's passage.
Flanked by Tampa General nurses and doctors, Congresswoman Kathy Castor Monday urged lawmakers to support the expansion of health care for low income people that would be entirely paid for by the Federal Government for the first three years.
Turning it down, she believes would be a huge mistake.
"Billions of our hard earned taxpayer dollars from Floridians would go to other states to pay for healthcare and that's not acceptable" said Castor.
That may have been the argument that convinced Governor Rick Scott and other Republican governors to change their minds about expanding Medicaid. Scott's decision infuriated the Tea Party base that propelled him into office.
Now he needs the approval of at least some conservative lawmakers to get the Federal money.
"He's got a big fight and honestly I don't think he's got the support" said Jonathan Torres, President of the Tampa Bay Young Republicans Club.
Torres hasn't rejected Scott for his change of mind, but believes his support of this key component of Obamacare could make his reelection harder.
"It certainly doesn't mean we have to agree with him, but come election time, he's going to hear it from the party."