Ideology trumps intelligence in Florida
This week, a Florida Senate committee rejected the expansion of Medicaid to its poorest residents, a vote that followed a similar vote in the House and a surprise endorsement by its tea partying governor. Not only that, the bill’s Republican sponsor declared that he wants Florida out of the Medicaid business altogether:
A Florida Senate committee voted Monday against expanding Medicaid to roughly 1 million of the state’s poorest under the federal health overhaul and instead proposed a voucher plan that would require patients to pay premiums and co-pays.
“This will be the beginning of a transformation of the entire Medicaid system,” committee Chairman Sen. Joe Negron said. “My goal is that we will get out of the federal Medicaid system as we know it. Now, we can’t do that all at once, but we have an opportunity to begin that process.”
Negron wants the state to create a basic health insurance plan for the expanded Medicaid population and require recipients to pay a sliding scale premium based on their income. He suggested using Florida Healthy Kids, a managed care program that provides health insurance to low-income children, as the vehicle for delivering the new system.
What could possibly go wrong with a bunch of anti-government zealots running their own program to provide health care for needy families?
Governor Rick Scott is still lusting after that federal money for his state, however:
In a prepared statement shortly after the Senate vote, Scott appeared willing to consider alternatives proposed by lawmakers: “I am confident that the Legislature will do the right thing and find a way to protect taxpayers and the uninsured in our state while the new healthcare law provides 100 percent federal funding.”
These hypocritical tea party governors are all for ending federal spending on health insurance reform until there is something in it for them, it appears.
If Florida rejects this component of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), it will be turning down over $50 billion in federal dollars to help provide health insurance coverage for a million of its most vulnerable citizens.
Here in Michigan, despite support by Governor Snyder and many Republican legislators, tea party groups across the state are still lobbying heavily to stop the health insurance exchange that will be set up under the ACA. On a recent post on the website for the Tea Party of West Michigan announcing an anti-Obamacare exchange lobbying day, one commenter had this to say (membership required for entry) about Republicans who aren’t toeing their anti-Obamacare line:
The scumbag elitist RINOS are no better than the Democrats. The Power of the office makes them believe they know better than the people what is good for us. Just more nannies. This is an abomination.
This is why the Republican Party has gone so off the rails on the Crazy Train. With politically-active extremists like this, there is no room for the sort of compromise that has been the hallmark of a functioning government. It’s their way or get-primaried-by-someone-even-more-extreme way. It may get them seats in the state House and Senate but, long term it’s going to kill any chance they have of being politically relevant on a broader stage.