Slatest PM: Obamacare's Surprise Florida

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 20 2013 5:53 PM

Slatest PM: Obamacare's Surprise Florida Victory

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Florida Governor Rick Scott speaks to the media after he toured the manufacturing facility at Beckman Coulter, a biomedical laboratory instruments manufacturer, on January 10, 2013

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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Josh Voorhees Josh Voorhees

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

Florida's Medicaid Surprise: Associated Press: "Florida Gov. Rick Scott has announced that he will expand Medicaid to an estimated 900,000 additional Florida residents under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul. The decision is a surprise since Scott has been a vocal critic of the Affordable Care Act. The Republican governor said Wednesday that he will support a bill that would expire in three years. Scott entered politics in 2009 running national cable TV commercials criticizing the president's plan. The federal government will pay for the Medicaid expansion for the first three years and pay 90 percent after that."

A Change of Heart: Washington Post: "Ever since the president’s reelection, which secured the Affordable Care Act’s political future, Scott’s stance has changed. He had a number of meetings with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on the provision and announced a new openness to the implementing the law."

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Not a Done Deal Just Yet: Tampa Bay Times: "Scott's endorsement means that as many as 1 million Floridians could gain access to health care, if the Republican-controlled Legislature agrees. That is not a certainty. ... Scott said Tuesday he would support a three-year expansion of Medicaid. After that, the Legislature would have to vote to reauthorize the program to keep it going. ... His endorsement of the Medicaid expansion came hours after the federal government agreed to grant Florida a conditional waiver to privatize Medicaid statewide for the state's roughly 3 million current recipients. The two announcements appear linked."

Happy Wednesday and welcome to the Slatest PM. Follow your afternoon host on Twitter at @JoshVoorhees and the whole team at @slatest.

Mitt's Return to the Stage: CBS News: "After remaining almost completely out of the public eye since losing the 2012 election to President Obama, former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is stepping back into the spotlight with a speech next month to conservative activists. Romney will address attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference when they meet in Washington March 14-16."

Extra! Extra!: Bloomberg: "New York Times Co. is formally exploring a sale of the Boston Globe, its only remaining business outside the core New York Times media brand. The publisher is working with Evercore Partners Inc. as an adviser for a sale, Times Co. said today in a statement. The company intends to focus its strategy and investment on the Times brand, it said. Times Co., controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family, is coping with a difficult advertising market as spending on national campaigns continues to shrink industrywide. The publisher has sold other assets unrelated to the Times brand, getting rid of regional newspapers and About.com within the past 13 months."

Nagin Pleads Not Guilty: CBS News: "Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has pleaded not guilty to charges he accepted bribes, free trips and other gratuities in exchange for helping contractors secure millions of dollars in work for the city. ... A 21-count indictment last month accuses Nagin of accepting more than $200,000 in bribes, free loads of granite for a family business and trips to Hawaii, Jamaica and other places. The charges against Nagin are the product of a City Hall corruption investigation that already has resulted in guilty pleas by two former city officials and two businessmen and a prison sentence for a former city vendor."

Jesse Jackson Jr. Is Going to Jail: Chicago Tribune: "Former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, pleaded guilty today in what prosecutors said was a conspiracy to siphon about $750,000 in federal campaign funds for their personal use. Jackson Jr. entered a negotiated plea of guilty this morning on one felony count of conspiracy to commit false statements, wire fraud and mail fraud. He could face years in prison when he is sentenced this summer."

Your Sequester Update: Reuters: "Defense Secretary Leon Panetta formally notified Congress on Wednesday that the Pentagon plans to put civilian defense employees on unpaid leave this year if $46 billion in across-the-board U.S. government spending cuts take effect on March 1. The announcement of congressional notification begins a 45-day process that could ultimately lead to unpaid leave for most of the department's 800,000 civilian employees around the globe."

Wi-Fi Gridlock: New York Times: "The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday took a step to relieve growing congestion on Wi-Fi networks in hotels, airports and homes, where Americans increasingly use multiple data-hungry tablets, smartphones and other devices for wireless communications. The commission proposed making a large chunk of high-frequency airwaves, or spectrum, available for use by unlicensed devices, including Wi-Fi routers like those that many Americans use in their homes. The agency’s five commissioners also expressed hopes that the new airwaves would unleash new innovations, just as unlicensed spectrum in the past has made possible such devices as cordless phones, garage door openers and television remote controls."

A Few More Quick Hits From Slate

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