Saturday, April 21, 2018
Politics

Romano: Why Gov. Rick Scott never talks about Obamacare anymore

Here's a recent headline: Florida to have highest population of Obamacare enrollees.

Here's another headline from a day later: Unemployment rate at 8-year low in U.S.

And now here's a question: Where's Gov. Chicken Little?

You know the one I'm talking about. The one who promised us that Obamacare would be "the biggest job killer ever in the history of our country'' and would "result in rationing of health care'' and would "be devastating for our state.''

That governor doesn't talk much about health care anymore. Maybe that's because Obamacare is providing insurance to nearly 2 million state residents. Or maybe it's because Florida's refusal to accept federal funds to supplement health policies means we still have one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation.

Either way, it's curious that the governor no longer talks about an issue he once crafted his entire campaign around.

Reasonable people can debate Obamacare's merits and shortcomings. It hasn't been successful for everyone, and so tweaks or revisions should be considered.

But here's what cannot be disputed:

Something needed to be done to fix the health care problem in this nation, and Obamacare addressed it in a way that many state Legislatures had failed to do.

And nowhere is that more evident than Florida.

Simply put, this state was heading toward an economic and moral crisis in health care. Too much money was being wasted on expensive and unnecessary hospital visits because too many uninsured people had no other alternative.

Or to put it in more descriptive terms:

Florida has had 1.7 million residents acquire insurance through the federal government's marketplace. That's more than Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee combined. Let that sink in. Those half-dozen states surrounding Florida have 33 million residents compared with our 20, and yet they still didn't need as many Obamacare policies.

That should tell you how dire Florida's situation was.

And it should infuriate you that your state leaders were doing absolutely nothing about it. They whine and bellyache about Medicaid being an expensive and horrible system for health care, and yet their solution was to ignore preventive care and encourage uninsured patients to run up outrageous emergency room bills.

Even now, they aren't willing to find a fix for hundreds of thousands of residents who still have no insurance. These same legislators who scream about entitlements use federal taxes to cover unpaid hospital bills instead of supplementing insurance policies.

A model for providing more efficient health care is staring them in the face, and they're too stubborn or stupid to admit it.

You don't like Obamacare?

Fine. Then craft a better alternative. A uniquely Florida alternative.

Legislators swore they would do that. And now, all these years later, they don't even pretend to be looking for a better solution.

You might want to remember that the next time your state leaders promise they are better positioned to help you than the federal government.

Of the eight markets taking the greatest advantage of Obamacare in the nation, three are in Florida. Turns out, it wasn't a job killer as much as a lifesaver.

Funny how the governor never talks about that.

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