How To Cure A Tea Party Hangover: Rick Scott Accepts Medicaid Expansion
On the same day Florida governor Rick Scott announced that his state would accept Medicaid expansion, “What’s It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge? Just Ask Florida!” by Mother Jones’ Stephanie Mencimer, was spreading like wildfire across the web.
“To get Medicaid in Florida, you have to make less than $3,200 a year,” Mencimer pointed out, “and the state seems set to reject Obamacare subsidies that would fix that.”
The state has the second highest rate of uninsured residents in the country, and recently suffered the worst tuberculosis outbreak in 20 years, a fact that the state apparently attempted to conceal.
Despite this, Florida led the 26-state lawsuit against the law that resulted in the Supreme Court upholding the individual mandate, but allowing states to opt out of Medicaid expansion.
So why suddenly — after continually lying about the costs of Medicaid expansion — has Rick Scott decided that he would accept subsidies from the big, evil, OBAMANATION of a federal government?
As Mencimer points out, Florida is coming out of its Tea Party hangover.
Scott’s approval rating has never broken 50 percent since he was elected governor in the Tea Party landslide of 2010. In late 2012, he was losing to generic Democrats by 4 percent, according to PPP Polls. A poll last month showed him losing to newly minted Democrat and former Republican governor of the Sunshine State, Charlie Crist, by a whopping 14 percent. So cut to a hastily called press conference at State House in mid-February.
“While the federal government is committed to pay 100 percent of the cost, I cannot, in good conscience, deny Floridians the needed access to health care,” Scott said Wednesday.
Scott is supporting a three-year acceptance of Medicaid expansion but will not make it a legislative priority. Still, this decision is huge for two reasons.
First, it signals a major rhetorical shift in Republicans — especially Republicans in states President Obama won — away from the Tea Party dogma of government getting out of the way to let business do business and poor people be poor.
Scott said that he was thinking of the “poorest and weakest” Floridians. When he was campaigning against Obamacare as a “job killer,” he never expressed much concern for those on the edges of society.
Rick Scott isn’t the only Republican governor who has moved into the acceptance phase of the Obamacare mourning process. Arizona’s Jan Brewer has accepted Medicaid expansion, along with Rick Snyder of Michigan and John Kasich of Ohio.
“Well, I think it makes sense to bring this money home, and this money can provide health coverage for the poor – a great number of them who are working poor, individuals who make less than $15,415. [On] $15,415 – they can’t afford healthcare,” Kasich said during his recent State of the State address. “What are we gonna do, leave ’em out in the street? Walk away from them, when we have a chance to help them?”