VOTE FOR THE BEST OF ORLANDO® 2021 NOW THROUGH AUG. 1!

Obstinance-only medication 

State goes to ridiculous measures in efforts to thwart expansion of Medicaid

click to enlarge 1474083.jpg

$2 BILLION

AMOUNT OF TAX DOLLARS THE STATE EXPECTS TO SPEND UNDER Florida HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ FLORIDA HEALTH CHOICES PLAN IN ORDER TO PROVIDE $2,000 A YEAR TO RECIPIENTS TO PURCHASE PRIVATE HEALTH INSURANCE

$3 BILLION

PROJECTED 10-YEAR COST OF EXPANDING THE STATE’S MEDICAID PROGRAM, AS ORIGINALLY REQUIRED BY THE FEDERAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, WHICH WOULD HAVE BEEN AUGMENTED BY $51 BILLION IN FEDERAL funds

130,000

NUMBER OF UNINSURED DISABLED ADULTS AND ADULTS WITH CHILDREN LIKELY TO BE COVERED BY FLORIDA HEALTH CHOICES, COMPARED TO THE MORE THAN ONE MILLION THAT WOULD BE COVERED BY MEDICAID EXPANSION

 

“THE HOUSE’S PLAN WILL COST FLORIDA TAXPAYERS ON TOP OF WHAT THEY ARE ALREADY TAXED UNDER THE PRESIDENT’S NEW HEALTH CARE LAW.” – GOV. RICK SCOTT, IN AN APRIL 11 STATEMENT

Sources: Miami Herald, Governor’s Press Office

OBSTINANCE-ONLY MEDICATION

We, along with the rest of the horrified Florida media, have been doing our best not to collapse into gallows hysterics at the teenage-wasteland bro-fights in the legislature over the rather important notion of the state running afoul of the Affordable Care Act, set for full implementation in 2014. It’s only hilarious, though, if you don’t take into account the lives of actual people hanging in the balance. Hilarious, we say.

First, Gov. Rick Scott acquiesced in some kind of “I loved my dead mom” manner and allowed that he supported a full Medicaid expansion, at least for the three years in which it will cost the state nothing, in exchange for $51 billion federal dollars and one million newly insured potential voters. Then the Senate leadership cobbled together a workaround that would still (maybe) allow the feds to fund a new insurance program, but do so through a privatized voucher system that comes with “I still hate Obama” stickers attached. Now, having conceded that his own family was assisted by Medicaid in their time of need, increasingly less beau-hunky House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel – after some Bond-esque “never say never” on expansion nonsense – cavorted with state Rep. Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes (because, butter), to come up with a new alternative that would reject the federal dollars, insure one-tenth of the people and make the state miserable. Why? Because the federal government is a monster and is not to be depended upon.

“The Florida House has developed a plan that will fit the needs of Florida, not the requirements of Washington,” Weatherford dusted off his Tenther button, in a prepared statement. “Our plan increases our commitment to a strong safety net and ensures Floridians are not on the hook for billions we currently do not have.”

Presumably, that would also include the $51 billion we won’t get for free? Under the House plan – which the governor has already rejected publicly, so why bother? – just 130,000 people would be given $2,000 each to buy private insurance from companies that will more than likely turn that money into campaign donations and lobbying kitties. The Senate, to some degree, is viewing it as a negotiable starting point.

“It’s not an alternative. It’s a cruel joke,” Sen. Darren Soto, D-Orlando, said, according to wfsu.org. “It’s not even close to what we have.”

And, officially speaking, the state’s Democratic Party is raising its hackles to the sky. “With only three weeks left in session, the House GOP’s proposal is a day late and a dollar short,” Florida Democratic Party Chair Alison Tant said in a statement. “Lives are literally at stake and this paltry alternative illustrates the House Republicans’ failure to put the people of Florida before political points.”

What’s worse, the money to fund Weatherford’s big adventure? It’s likely to be shaved off the proposed state-worker pay raises all the nice politicians promised. Because if you’re going to kick the common man, you might as well kick him twice. It’s the Floridian way.

Tags:

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at feedback@orlandoweekly.com.

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

July 28, 2021

View more issues

Calendar

© 2021 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation