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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Crist married to a millionaire -- but on health care dole



Charlie Crist is against a public option for health insurance, but he's for a public option when it comes to homeowners insurance. And he's for public health insurance when it's called Medicaid, Medicare or KidCare. (See stories here and here for more background. And check out the KidCare video below.)

According to Crist, everyone else who doesn't have coverage should sign up for his Cover Florida Health Care program. Except for Crist. Though married to a millionaire, he gets free health insurance premiums paid by taxpayers, along with all the legislators and thousands of other top state workers (not the rank and filers). And when asked about it today by our erstwhile colleague Gary Fineout, Crist got a little testy as he tried to shift the focus back to Cover Florida. He fell back on the old Cover Florida cover when CNN's John Roberts asked him about the contradictions.

For the record: Cover Florida has now signed up about 4,129 people since February. In  that time, an estimated 3,560 people lose coverage weekly. The Crist equation four steps back + one step forward = success. An argument can be made that KidCare is not government run, but is merely government financed. The managed-care companies technically run the insurance program, though the KidCare board is selected by government officials. And the Legislature sets the parameters of the program. Crist avoids all this complexity.

Here's the transcript from this morning:

Are you suggesting KidCare was already here, so you don’t support KidCare?

Crist: I didn’t say that.

Well you said KidCare was there before I got there …

Crist, interrupting: “that’s also true.”

Well, I guess my point is I you pushed to expand the enrollment in KidCare. It’s not like you tried to dismantle it or didn’t think it was a good idea

Crist, interrupting: "also true. So what’s the confusion?”

The confusion is, then, your criticism over government run health care when KidCare is government run health care, which is what they were asking you about this morning.

Crist: "It’s for kids. I like it."

Do you get free health insurance premiums like other Florida state officials?

Crist: "I think we have a good setup right now. We ought to continue to do I think what our administration is trying to do for the uninsured in Florida through the Cover Florida Health Care plan and give people an opportunity who don’t have insurance or who have recently lost a job to go to and have an opportunity which I think a compassionate society ought to provide -- and that is to get health insurance coverage. I think Florida’s done it the right way. We’ve reduced the cost from an average of about $900 a month to about $150 a month. No government mandates. No tax dollars involved. I think it’s the right way to go. That’s what I believe.”

But do you pay for free health insurance yourself?

Crist: “I don't. You know I don't. I’m aware of that.”


[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 2:20pm]


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