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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Republicans have a Medicaid problem.

Beginning in 2014, the federal government will pay 100 percent of the costs to expand Medicaid to cover millions of Americans who can’t afford health insurance, as a part of the Affordable Care Act. The Supreme Court decided that states can turn this expansion down, thus denying their state’s residents health care that wealthy residents will be paying for anyway.

So how do you explain to your constituents that you’re depriving them of health insurance that could possibly save their lives?

Especially when the states who are turning the expansion down are the ones who need it most?

Florida’s Republican governor Rick Scott has decided just to not tell the truth.

According to Health News Florida, “Scott says he opposes expanding Florida Medicaid because it would cost too much: $63 billion over 10 years, he says, with the state paying $26 billion of that.” 

This is simply a lie based on report that came from Scott’s advisor Michael Anway. Scott had been warned that the report was incorrect by legislative budget analyst and state economist Amy Baker. Anway, who is what OpenSecrets.org calls a “revolving door” lobbyist who alternates back and forth between industry and government, is using the Medicaid reimbursement rate of 58 percent from the last 20 years instead of the 100 percent rate that will begin in 2014 based on the Affordable Care Act.

Anway’s reasoning could have come straight out of an email from your Tea Partying uncle: “The federal government has a $16 trillion national debt, must borrow 46 cents of every dollar it spends, and in 2011 had its credit rating downgraded for the first time in history.”

And this isn’t the first time Scott has been caaught passing off falsehoods about Medicaid expansion. In July, 2012, Politifact noted that Scott was grossly overestimating the costs to the state.

Scott’s dissembling on Medicaid shouldn’t be a surprise, given his history with Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Before he became governor, Scott served as CEO of the for-profit hospital chain Columbia/HCA.

“Columbia became the center of a nationwide federal health fraud investigation in the mid-1990s, before settling for $1.7 billion amidst allegations the chain of hospitals defrauded government health programs including Medicare and Medicaid,” according to Forbes.com. “Scott eventually resigned under intense board pressure in 1997 as the investigation swirled around him.”

Scott’s lies doesn’t quite meet the definition of Medicaid fraud, but they are a serious reminder of what a political bind Scott will be in if the estimated 950,000 to 1.3 million Floridians who could be receiving free health care find out the truth that the governor is trying to keep from them.

 Photo credit:  Gage Skidmore via Flickr.com

Blake Neff

Twitter screenshot

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters

On July 10, CNN's Oliver Darcy reported that Blake Neff, the top writer for Tucker Carlson's prime-time Fox News show, had been anonymously posting racist, misogynistic, homophobic, and other offensive content on an online forum for five years. Neff used racist and homophobic slurs, referred to women in a derogatory manner, and pushed white supremacist content while writing for Carlson's show. Neff resigned after CNN contacted him for comment.

As Darcy reported, in an interview with the Dartmouth Alumni Magazine, Neff claimed anything Carlson read during his show was initially drafted by him. Darcy also found instances where there was "some overlap between the forum and the show," as sometimes the "material Neff encountered on the forum found its way on to Carlson's show."

During a 2018 appearance on Fox's The Five to promote his book Ship of Fools, Carlson mentioned Neff by name, calling him a "wonderful writer." Carlson also included Neff in the acknowledgments of the book.


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Before joining Fox News, Neff worked at The Daily Caller, a conservative news outlet that Carlson co-founded. The outlet has published a number of white supremacists, anti-Semites, and bigots.


Carlson has a long history of promoting white supremacist content on his show. His show has featured many guests who have connections to white supremacy and far-right extremism. Carlson has regularly been praised by Neo-Nazis and various far-right extremist figures, and he's been a hero on many white supremacist podcasts. Users of the extremist online message boards 4chan and 8chan have repeatedly praised Carlson.

The manifesto released by the gunman who killed 20 people in El Paso, Texas, in 2019 was strewn with content that echoed talking points from Carlson's show. Days after the shooting, Carlson declared that calling white supremacy a serious issue is a "hoax" as it is "actually not a real problem in America."

Carlson has been hemorrhaging advertisers following his racist coverage of the Black Lives Matters movement and the recent protests against police brutality. Now that we know his top writer was using content from white supremacist online message boards for Carlson's show, it is more imperative than ever that advertisers distance their brands away from this toxicity.