Mostly Cloudy84° WeatherMostly Cloudy84° Weather

No need to fear, senators are here

Droopy drawers. Dwarf tossing. Noisy car radios.

Over the years, the folks in Tallahassee have courageously tackled one tough issue after another in the Florida Legislature. Relentless defenders of justice is just who they are.

Now, having solved some of society's greatest ills, they can turn their attention to other, less-pressing matters:

Health care, for instance.

Turns out, a bunch of people in our state are dangerously uninsured.

And judging from the concerned tones, heartfelt words and somber stares of senators in a committee meeting in Tallahassee on Monday, this must have come as a complete shock.

Otherwise, why would we have gone year after year without doing something — anything — about the health care crisis in Florida?

Apparently, the senators just discovered there are hospitals with billions of dollars in uncompensated care. And standing-room-only emergency rooms that are duty-bound to treat patients with earaches and no family doctor to go to.

All in all, there are nearly a million stranded citizens, not to mention ballooning medical and insurance costs for the rest of us.

Darned serious stuff, the senators all agreed.

So they got right down to work on Monday and rejected the only meaningful solution to come along in decades.

Now I know what you're thinking. Rejecting Medi­caid expansion does nothing to solve the problem of uninsured adults or unpaid medical bills in this state.

This is absolutely true. And the senators are far too savvy to have missed that crucial detail.

So they came to agreement on one all-important point:

They will keep talking about this.

"What is wrong with us coming up with a better plan?" Sen. David Simmons, R-Altamonte Springs, asked. "The answer is nothing."

It might have helped if Simmons had explained why nobody had come up with a better plan during his previous 10 years in the Legislature, but that's neither here nor there.

The important thing is this Medicaid expansion rejection has finally shined a light on this seemingly top-secret health care crisis issue.

This allowed Sen. Joe Negron, R-Palm City, to throw out a suggestion Monday for his fellow committee members to consider:

How about using the federal money from the proposed Medicaid expansion to allow uninsured Florida residents to buy private insurance?

This idea generated a lot of thoughtful nods and verbal back slaps. It also led to a sense of deja vu since it's the same philosophical concept that serves as the centerpiece of Obamacare, which Negron and other Florida senators tried killing last year.

Will Negron's proposal get out of committee? Will it pass the full Senate? Will the federal government approve of this alternative spending of Medicaid money?

Will the Florida House go along with a plan that includes accepting Medicaid funds considering Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Land O'Lakes, has already claimed that spending federal dollars is a spectacularly bad idea?

These are all important questions that I'm certain will be answered intelligently and without delay.

After all, your legislators are on the job.

Why would you possibly worry?

No need to fear, senators are here 03/11/13 [Last modified: Monday, March 11, 2013 10:27pm]

© 2014 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...