Monday, June 29, 2015

Can Someone Explain This?

So, I mentioned in previous reports about our Florida government's refusal to accept Medicaid expansion funding, and about Rick "Medicare Fraud" Scott and his state House allies being obstructionists this past state budget impasse.  Up to and including Scott filing a lawsuit against the federal government to force the feds to pay about $2 billion towards a low-income fund (LIP) that the Health Dept. wanted to phase out as the Medicaid program covered basically the same ground.

The latest follow-up on that is that some deal had been struck and Scott dropped part (just not all) of that lawsuit:

During the course of the lawsuit, federal officials said Florida would receive about $1 billion for the LIP program during the fiscal year that starts July 1, without the money depending on Medicaid expansion. Lawmakers have included that money in a budget that is expected to pass Friday (after June 17th)...
The notice added the state is "not prepared to withdraw the underlying lawsuit until the defendants render an actual decision about future LIP funding without the unconstitutionally coercive consideration of the state's constitutionally protected decision not to expand Medicaid."

'Cause here's the thing: if the Florida Republicans just manned up - or ironically enough, got greedy - they would be getting a lot more than a billion dollars out of the federal government.  Via the Jacksonville Business Journal:

The White House report estimates that by not expanding Medicaid, Florida will miss out on $5.9 billion in federal funding in 2016.
Rolling out Medicaid on a larger scale would provide insurance coverage to 750,000 residents who are not covered. That would have the effect of reducing the number of people who have trouble paying other bills due to the burden of medical costs.

So here's the Rick "Brainless" Scott logic of it: Here's the federal government just offering up nearly SIX BILLION DOLLARS to cover health care costs for the state, something that would be a massive stimulus to our state's health care industry along with improving coverage and overall health of nearly everyone here.  This is Six Billion already allotted, covered by taxes, the only stipulation being that the following year the state takes up ten percent of that funding while the feds send ninety percent of it (that's still over FIVE BILLION from the feds).  Instead of owning up to that ten percent, Scott and his buddies REFUSE the Six Billion and file a lawsuit to snag TWO BILLION, or about Four Billion less than if they'd agree to the expansion plan.  And the end result of all this is to force the US government to cough up just ONE BILLION to continue a program that by all rights is temporary and can get phased out in favor of a larger, better-funded one.

Basically, Scott attempted to extort LESS money out of the federal government than what he could have gained for the state of Florida if he accepted the Medicaid deal.

Was it too much of pride at stake, sir?  Was it too much of your political ambition to run again and again as an anti-Obama politician?  Are you objecting to that one string attached that requires Florida to ante up ten percent of the bill the following year, are you terrified of the possibility that you'd have to raise taxes to pay for something that would STILL generate BILLIONS of federal funds for us? Was it just sheer stupidity to TAKE LESS MONEY FOR THE STATE YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO SERVE?

I can't believe it all comes down to the fact that the Medicaid program is getting screwed all because of who offers it, all because it's got Obama's name on the label.  For God's sake, people are going to suffer, our economy is going to suffer, all because our elected "leaders" refuse to swallow their pride and agree to a deal that could quickly infuse the state with FOUR to FIVE BILLION dollars towards our poor families, towards our hospitals and nursing homes, towards our health care employees.

All for pride?  All for politics?!  At what point should common freaking sense take consideration?

All because Rick "Negotiation Skills My Ass" Scott isn't a businessman or a Governor, because someone who was serious about being either would have taken the Medicaid money by now.  No, it's all because Rick "Demagoguery" Scott is all about scoring points with a fear-driven ill-informed wingnut base that barely represents less than a quarter of the state's entire population, all because goddamn voter turnout is abysmal out here.

Damn Scott.  Damn the rest of this state that voted for him.  Damn the rest of this state that refused to even show up to vote him out.

1 comment:

dinthebeast said...

As Jon Stewart said about it: "Brought to you by Spite."
Only the consequences are real and the people are real. I would be blind right now if not for the Medicaid expansion in California, which covered the 20% of the cost of my surgeries that Medicare doesn't cover. It was only a couple thousand dollars, but it was a couple thousand I didn't have and had no way of getting.
Poor folks who are impacted by this misbehavior have only a tiny political voice now that money and political speech are legally the same. We need to do something about that, but what?

-Doug in Oakland