Monday, January 22, 2018
Politics

Gov. Rick Scott breaks with Koch brothers over health care in Florida

Saw a headline the other day worth repeating.

Koch Brothers "Extremely Disappointed'' in Rick Scott After Obamacare Shift

By itself, the headline is not terribly gripping. It's the context that makes it interesting.

First of all, the net worth of each Koch brother is roughly equivalent to the stock portfolios of several million of your neighbors. So when Charles and David are disappointed, it's the same thing as saying Miami and Fort Lauderdale are peeved.

Beyond that, the Kochs are the omnipresent gurus of Scott's particular brand of conservatism. Think Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid, minus the car wax.

So when Scott breaks rank with Americans For Prosperity — the Koch-funded propaganda machine of the obscenely rich — it is not an insignificant matter.

And what was Scott's horribly disappointing misdeed?

He suggested he might be willing to work with the federal government when it comes to implementing the Affordable Care Act in the coming months.

That's it. He didn't say he was raising taxes. He didn't sing the praises of an individual mandate. He didn't even give the president a quick hug.

The governor simply said it might be a good idea to provide an avenue for health care for the citizens of Florida.

Now, was Scott making a sincere shift from the obstructionist policies of Koch cronies, or was it a political calculation for an unpopular governor seeking re-election?

To be honest, I don't care.

What's important is Scott finally appears willing to recognize the Affordable Care Act is the law of the land. He finally seems to understand a majority of Floridians have given it their stamp of approval.

And he finally seems willing to stand up to the big-money puppet masters he has sided with time and time again.

It is that last point that is the most intriguing.

It doesn't mean Scott has to cease being a good Republican. It doesn't mean he has to give up his probusiness philosophies. What it does mean, hopefully, is he realizes he is responsible for millions of people and not just a handful of special interests.

That's important, because continuing this fight with Obamacare is asinine. And if Scott needs to explain that to the Koch family, he can start with this:

Florida has the third-highest percentage of uninsured children in the nation. That means we're doing worse than some of our poorer relations around the South. And nothing this state has done in recent years has come close to fixing that problem.

Scott may also want to quote a recent Georgetown University Health Policy Institute study. This report explains the Affordable Care Act should actually save Florida about $100 million a year because it will eliminate costly safety nets now in use.

Finally, he may want to point out that if he turns down additional Medicaid money he will potentially bankrupt hospitals that currently provide free care to the uninsured. Meanwhile, our federal tax dollars will flow to hospitals in other states.

So to recap:

Cooperating with the Affordable Care Act in Florida sounds as if it will be more compassionate, far cheaper and a better deal for hospitals in the long run.

In other words, it sounds like Scott should be proud to have disappointed a handful of billionaires.

Comments
Congressman combating harassment used public money on own case

Congressman combating harassment used public money on own case

WASHINGTON ó Rep. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., who has taken a leading role in fighting sexual harassment in Congress, used thousands of dollars in taxpayer money to settle his own misconduct complaint after a former aide accused him last year of making un...
Published: 01/20/18
The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The longer the shutdown lasts, the further the economic ripples will spread

The early days of the federal government shutdown wonít slow the U.S. economy much. No workers are missing paychecks yet, and because it is a weekend, few businesses expect to feel the effects of lost customers or suppliers.That could change, quickly...
Published: 01/20/18
Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Romano: If UCF is national champion, then Iím a Hollywood stud

Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan famously said people were entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.Clearly, Moynihan never dealt with Florida legislators.Because around Tallahassee, facts are fungible. They arenít just up for debate, they...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

U.S. government shuts down; Democrats, GOP blame each other

WASHINGTON ó The federal government shut down at the stroke of midnight Friday, halting all but the most essential operations and marring the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trumpís inauguration in a striking display of Washington dysfunctio...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/20/18
Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

Battle lines already forming for Menendez corruption retrial

NEWARK, N.J. ó U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez might spend 2018 asking voters to re-elect him and jurors to acquit him. Prosecutors from the Department of Justice told a federal judge in New Jersey on Friday that they will seek a retrial of the Democratic sen...
Published: 01/19/18
Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

Congress likely racing toward a government shutdown

WASHINGTON ó A bitterly-divided Congress hurtled toward a government shutdown this weekend in a partisan stare-down over demands by Democrats for a solution on politically fraught legislation to protect about 700,000 younger immigrants from being dep...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

Clearwater City Council candidate John Funk: City needs better planning

CLEARWATER ó Voters may not be too familiar with the name John Funk.So since launching his campaign for City Council Seat 5 against well-known incumbent Hoyt Hamilton, Funk said he has knocked on 2,000 doors to introduce himself. Before the March 13 ...
Published: 01/19/18
Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

Clearwater City Council candidate Hoyt Hamilton: Experience is key for critical next term

CLEARWATER ó By asking voters to elect him into office a fifth time, Hoyt Hamilton knows heís now considered part of the old-guard. Born and raised in Clearwater, his family roots stretch back here more than 100 years. Hamilton, 59, spent nearly his ...
Published: 01/19/18

Q&A: Government shutdown looms. Hereís what you need to know

Lawmakers have until midnight tonight to pass legislation to avert a government shutdown.Hereís what that means. Why would the government shut down?Every year, Congress has to approve laws, known as appropriations, that provide money for federal agen...
Published: 01/18/18
Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

Redington Shores mayor, commission positions filled with no opponents

REDINGTON SHORES ó There will be no election this year, but the changeout of commission members that began last year will continue. When the new commission is sworn in this March, four of five members, including the mayor, will have changed within th...
Published: 01/18/18