Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Politics

Romano: Rick Scott could have made Obamacare better for Floridians if he wanted

Bravo, Gov. Scott.

Thank you for pointing out a potential flaw in the health care marketplaces being set up around the state.

You're absolutely right that the navigators being hired to help residents buy health insurance should be properly trained and completely trustworthy.

Just one question:

Why now?

I mean, why are you and Attorney General Pam Bondi suddenly so concerned about privacy issues for the low-income people most likely to use health care marketplaces?

You didn't seem like a privacy advocate a year ago when you tried to trample Fourth Amendment rights by ordering drug tests for assorted citizens and state employees.

And why would you wait until now — a matter of weeks before health care marketplaces were launched — to raise your voice about this set of privacy issues?

After all, the plans for these marketplaces (once known as exchanges) have been around since you were elected.

Or don't you recall?

It was in the fall of 2011 when you famously said Obamacare was not the law of the land, and you did not believe it ever would be the law of the land. But then you graciously allowed that if Obamacare somehow became a reality, Florida would be ready for it.

The truth is the Affordable Care Act was the law of the land in 2011, and you were too arrogant to accept it. It was reaffirmed as the law of the land by the Supreme Court in 2012, and you were too childish to admit it.

Now, here we are in 2013, and — Guess What! — Florida is not ready for it.

Why?

Well, I could point out that one of the reasons is you turned down millions of dollars in federal grant money to get an early start on setting up marketplaces. That would be millions of dollars Florida residents paid in federal taxes only to see it spent elsewhere.

I could also point out the federal government asked you to establish the state health marketplace yourself. They all but begged you to set it up.

The idea was that marketplaces would be better handled at the state level where they could be tailored to the particular needs of an area. So if privacy was a concern, you could have set up your own safeguards. If training was the issue, you could have set your own standards. If costs were a concern, you could have monitored them yourself. And if Floridians needed help, they could get it locally.

Of course, you declined to do any of that.

Instead of figuring out ways to improve health care for Floridians, you ran around trying to sabotage and poison the legislation.

You said it would cost Florida $1.9 billion a year (which your own state agency pointed out was laughably incorrect). You said it would be the biggest job killer ever (and yet the state's Chamber of Commerce endorsed Medicaid expansion). And you allowed the Legislature to remove the state insurance commissioner's ability to regulate rates (throwing your own constituents to the wolves).

It didn't matter that Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured residents in the nation, you were focused on your personal politics instead of the needs of actual people.

And now that we are in the final days before health insurance marketplaces are set to launch, you continue to spend your time on the sidelines lobbing grenades.

I'm not sure that's part of the definition of a true statesman.

Or even a caring person.

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