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Wed Sep 11, 2019, 06:47 AM

'Rick Scott had us on lockdown': how Florida said no to $70m for HIV crisis

Source: The Guardian

'Rick Scott had us on lockdown': how Florida said no to $70m for HIV crisis

Guardian investigation shows state passed on federal funds available to help tackle a serious health epidemic

Benjamin Ryan
Wed 11 Sep 2019 07.00 BST
Last modified on Wed 11 Sep 2019 07.01 BST

While the Republican senator Rick Scott was governor of Florida, his administration presided over the effective blocking of $70m in federal funds available for fighting the state’s HIV crisis.

Coupled with the fact that Scott refused to expand Medicaid in Florida, this new revelation – the product of an extensive Guardian investigation – helps explain why the state’s HIV epidemic became almost peerlessly severe during Scott’s time in office.

From 2015 to 2017, Florida was forced to return to the federal government $54m in unspent grants for combating HIV – due to an apparently deliberate failure on the part of state health bosses to secure legislative permission to spend such desperately needed funds.

Furthermore, in 2015 Scott’s administration directly blocked two US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) grant applications that would likely have won Miami and Broward counties, which have HIV diagnosis rates among the highest in the US, approximately $16m.

For Scott, refusing federal money was a bedrock principle. Fierce opposition to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was a signature issue of his 2010 campaign. In one of his first acts in office, he rejected more than $2bn for high-speed rail. He would turn away scores of millions of dollars in ACA grants.

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Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/sep/11/florida-hiv-rick-scott-republican-governor

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