No matter how hard I try, I’ll never understand how Rick Scott got elected governor of Florida the first time – and then was re-elected this past November. It’s absolutely baffling. He is without a doubt one of the most shady, corrupt and incompetent politicians we have in this country. This is a man who was once so incompetent that he signed a bill that essentially banned all computers in his state.
But perhaps more than any other state in the country, Florida has been at the forefront of the battle over the Affordable Care Act (aka “Obamacare”) and the provision in the law that allows states to expand Medicaid to help insure the poorest citizens in each state.
Naturally, many Republicans serving at the state level have opposed the Medicaid expansion for the sole purpose of doing whatever they possibly can to sabotage the law – just as Scott has. Meanwhile, all their efforts have really done is put unneeded financial strain on many local hospitals (especially in rural communities) and deny access to health care for thousands of their residents.
But this opposition to Medicaid expansion has put some Republicans on the hot seat as more and more evidence emerges showing that not only is the Affordable Care Act working, but it’s exceeding expectations. That makes it exceedingly difficult for Republicans to oppose expanding Medicaid when literally millions of Americans in these Republican-controlled states are being denied access to health care due to their petty partisan games – and many of them are beginning to realize this.
Well, a federal funding program called the Low Income Pool, or LIP, has been helping Florida provide funding for health care for citizens who either don’t have insurance or whose insurance was simply inadequate to cover the costs of their treatment. But as it just so happens, come June 30th that program is set to expire and hospitals will no longer be able to recoup some of their losses from those patients who are unable to pay for the services they’re provided.
Most people with even the slightest bit of common sense could put two and two together and realize that expanding Medicaid through the ACA could easily help alleviate this problem, as it’s very likely that the vast majority of those who are unable to pay for their medical care are impoverished Floridians who simply can’t afford medical bills.
But instead of doing that, Scott has decided to try to fear-monger about this entire situation, ridiculously claiming that those benefiting from the LIP are different from those who would be covered by expanding Medicaid. Scott said, in part:
“The families that are covered through the Low Income Pool is a different group of individuals than are covered by Obamacare.”
Fact-checking site Politifact rated Scott’s statement as “Mostly False.”
The stupidity of his statement is so glaring that it’s absurd anyone in his position could utter such nonsense with a straight face. Considering Medicaid is a program mostly for poor Americans, and being that the LIP is also a program set up to help poor Americans pay for health care, it would stand to reason (at least for those of us with the ability to think reasonably) that the two groups of people benefiting from these two programs would overlap.
Which is exactly what Politifact’s investigation determined:
This [Scott’s comments] makes it sound as if the people who would qualify for Medicaid under an expansion are completely different than patients who leave hospitals with unpaid bills the LIP fund helps pay to providers. Health policy experts said that while there would still be uninsured people not paying their bills under an expansion, plenty of overlap exists between the two, especially at lower incomes.
Sure, not every single person who falls under the umbrella of LIP would be covered under Medicaid expansion, but it’s a pretty safe assumption to guess that the vast majority of them would. So what Scott is basically trying to do here is put the health and lives of literally hundreds of thousands of his own citizens at risk all for the sake of continuing to play petty partisan politics over the Affordable Care Act.
It’s an absolutely sad and pathetic day in this country when basically with a stroke of a pen many of these Republican governors could provide health care to millions of Americans, yet they continue to refuse to do so all because they care more about playing politics than doing what’s best for the American people.
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