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How To Cure A Tea Party Hangover: Rick Scott Accepts Medicaid Expansion

Memo Pad Politics

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?”


  1. Siegfried Heydrich February 21, 2013

    Too little, too late. If Scott thinks that this can change his political fortunes, he’s sadly mistaken. First, pretty much everyone in the state knows that the Hospital industry was putting tremendous pressure on Scott to sign on to Obamacare, as well as the fact that he, personally, stands to reap a considerable windfall from this, as that’s where the bulk of his fortune is located.

    Second, nobody is buying his change of heart as being anything more than a recognition that he has zero chance of re-election (mosquitoes enjoy more popularity than he), and that this is yet ANOTHER grift from him.

    Scott is far and away the most unpopular and detested governor Florida has had in my lifetime (and we’ve had some dillies). The damage he has done to the state is staggering – there are parts of the US-27 corridor that look like third world countries now, thanks to him. He has gutted the public health and education, and put people into positions of power who, to put it bluntly, are stark, staring, raving insane because they were his tea party supporters. It is going to take the state decades to recover from the damage this corrupt, opportunistic criminal has caused.

    1. Michael Peterson February 22, 2013

      Scott is disgusting and evil, you said it well Siegfried

      1. Fran February 22, 2013

        Michael…are you perfect…it says in the Bible…”HE WHO IS PERFECT CAST THE FIRST STONE” since when are you “PERFECT”?

        1. chino49p February 22, 2013

          The Bible also says to first take the beam out of your eye THEN you can see clearly to help another get the mote out of his. After judging ourselves we are to judge others, but do it righteously.

          It also says to beware of WOLVES in sheeps clothing. How are you going to tell if they are a WOLF if you can’t make that Judgement call? It teaches us to not be gullible and easily decieved. Scott has a long way to go to prove that he has changed his ways and not just trying keep his political hopes alive.

    2. CPAinNewYork February 22, 2013


      You refer to yourself as a Floridian in your posting. As a Floridian, can you explain why Scott was elected? Are the inbred rednecks and the doddering retirees in Florida really that stupid? Yeah, I guess I answered my own question.

      1. Siegfried Heydrich February 22, 2013

        The backing of the bagros, massive spending of his own money($60 million of his personal funds), and what squeaked him over the top were ads featuring his mother telling everybody what a good boy he was. Seriously, not kidding – the old folks just ate that up.

        It didn’t help that Alex Sink, his opponent, was a woman who really wasn’t prepared to get as down and stinky dirty as Scott was. She severely underestimated the amount of hate out there, and had made the unforgivable error of saying nice things about President Obama. As it was, he only won by about 61K votes out of 5.4M votes cast.

        1. Dominick Vila February 22, 2013

          I believe Alex Sink should have been more forceful against the attacks levied against her by the GOP when they insinuated that as Chief Financial Officer she was responsible for some of the disastrous policies put in place by Gov Jeb Bush.
          I agree with your comment about the effect of Mama Scott on seniors.
          The most incredible part for me was how little was said about Rick Scott’s involvement in the Columbia HCA fraud case. The fact that he pleaded guilty in exchange for a slap in the hand is no reason to ignore his involvement in a huge fraud case and the resulting fine, which was the largest in U.S. history.

          1. Siegfried Heydrich February 22, 2013

            Sadly, acceptance and toleration of criminal business activity by the right is the norm. The merest whiff of sexual impropriety can kill you, but defrauding millions of dollars is laudable.

  2. bpai99 February 21, 2013

    Political calculations aside, this move by Scott means many people in Florida will have access to healthcare that did not previously. That is a positive development. This does impact many people’s lives for the better – isn’t that worth something?

  3. Dominick Vila February 22, 2013

    It will take a miracle for Floridians to forget the oveert attempts to deny uninsured Floridians access to preventive medicine, deny us the benefit of Federal government funds that would lower state government costs or make funds available for desperately needed social programs, or the black list he proposed last year to deny voting rights to tens of thousands of U.S. citizens.
    I live in Central Florida, one of my relatives in uninsured and ineligible for MEDICAID because she works and earns more than the stipulated $3,200 a year. Another two would have been uninsured in a year when they are no longer on their father’s insurance.
    Unfortunately, even after Scott agreed to accept what should have never been questioned, there are still members of the Florida legislature voicing their opposition based strictly on ideology, and the fact that they represent districts where anything that deviates from the status quo is considered evil socialism.

    1. midway54 February 22, 2013

      Absolutely correct. The legislature is inhabited 3-2 by rightwing yahoos. The State north of the I-4 corridor is brilliantly red, and is a political appendange of Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia all of which are filled with vacuous dupes who regularly cheer and vote against their own interests.

  4. Budjob February 22, 2013

    Please people,kick this sick bastard out of office,along with the rest of the nut job teapartiers.What a disaster the state of Florida has become.It is not going to change unless the electorate in every state in the union divest themselves of EVERY damn republican that is currently in office!!

    1. jmprint February 22, 2013


  5. WhutHeSaid February 22, 2013

    Since Rick Scott is now about as popular as shark attacks in Florida, this was bound to happen. Scott has to do something to redeem himself — Lord knows he’s done nothing useful thus far. Floridians are a pretty tolerant bunch, but even they have their limit — as proven by the recent ejection of the bigoted, lunatic, hyperventilating blabbermouth Allen West. We can expect more movement towards the center-left as Scott gets ever closer to his upcoming day of reckoning. After all, Scott’s popularity has nowhere to go but up.

  6. midway54 February 22, 2013

    Scott will never receive a second term. The teabaggers and dupes voted him and Allen West and Marco Rubio into office. West is gone, Scott will go, and eventually so will the shameless hack Rubio.

  7. CPAinNewYork February 22, 2013

    I don’t understand how any sane person could vote for Rick Scott: he looks like something from outer space and his medical company was convicted of Medicare fraud.

    His appearance reminds me of the egghead big boss in the Dilbert comic strip.

    1. Mikey7a February 22, 2013

      Unfortunately, Florida is a RED RED state. As someone else above said, my neighbors vote Republican, no matter how bad the candidate may be. I was born, raised, and have lived in Florida most of my 56 years. I’m tire of fighting the good fight, and want out so bad, I’m willing to leave everything I own and just go!

  8. lambypie February 22, 2013

    What ever happened to not for profit health care. You won’t find it in the state of Florida. It is wrong for health care to be making profits on peoples well being.

  9. Mikey7a February 22, 2013

    lmao, realized it was you who said it!

  10. nobsartist February 22, 2013

    This felon is looking at this as another opportunity to steal more money from the American taxpayer.

    Why is it felons cannot vote but can run for Governor?

  11. Madelaine Ayers Henne February 22, 2013

    Fran Perry – no change of heart, God or no God!! This guy knows he’s up for re-election!! Using the health care law is a cheap shot for votes!!

  12. Michael Welch February 22, 2013

    I don’t get it. Don’t the Democrats watch their own news programs? Rachel Maddow explained this. The Republicans learned that by setting up their own exchanges, they can deny coverage for abortion. That’s why they’re doing it.


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