Sunday, April 12, 2015

Florida plans to eliminate the undeserving from healthcare

Florida State Flag
Florida, like most other Republican run states, has decided that the poor do not deserve healthcare.  Their rejection of Medicaid Expansion is based on their distrust of President Obama and their acceptance that reimbursing hospitals with Low Income Pool money is better than giving health insurance to the undeserving poor.

The public distrust of President Obama and his Democratic administration has been a Republican party strategy.  All Republicans are expected to continue this public display of criticism of the President so that they can use it as their main reason to obstruct any Democratic policy and by so doing, help the Democrats fail.  This is partisan politics which shows that Republicans have no problem taking actions that hurt Americans and hurt their state's economic condition without so much as an ounce of guilt.

Psychologists often say that a person's view of others is influenced by the subconscious guilt that they feel about their own actions.  Psychological projection is a theory that explains why some people shift their own faults onto someone else and deny that it occurs in themselves.  Neurotic or psychotic liars think all people lie.  Every narcissistic untrustworthy person thinks everyone else is untrustworthy.  Maybe that is the thinking that has entered into the Republican party.  The fact that many in the right wing of politics are commonly referred to as "nut jobs" may have a real basis in fact.

Someone who really does not deserve trust is Florida's governor, Rick Scott.  He was the former CEO of Columbia/HCA Healthcare.  In that position, Scott and his executives illegally charged Medicare billions in fake charges.  Scott quit that position just four months after the government's case became public.  His company was fined $1.7 billion as a result and Scott narrowly escaped getting jail time.  Now he's Florida's governor.

And now Florida finds itself with a House in conflict with its Senate regarding budget money for low income healthcare provisions.  With only a few weeks left in the legislative session, Florida Senate lawmakers have passed a budget for $80.4 billion which includes low income healthcare spending, while lawmakers in the Florida House have passed a $76.2 billion budget which eliminates healthcare spending for low income people.

Governor Scott has had a flip, flop, flip attitude when it comes to low income health insurance.  First he was against expanding medicaid to toe the Republican line to attempt to repeal the ACA in its entirety.  Then he was for it, but could not persuade stalwart Republicans to support it.  Now, after the Federal government has rejected his demands to continue to fund the Florida Low Income Pool, he is against it again.

Governor Scott and the Republican Florida House would much prefer to allow big tax breaks for business and a few dollars in savings for cable bill taxes for it's citizens than provide life saving health care for Florida's "undeserving."

Scott's demands to continue the Low Income Pool (LIP) were rejected by the federal government as it warned it would over a year ago, if Florida could not provide evidence about how the money was being used.  Also, the LIP fund was never supposed to be a permanent program.  Florida did nothing to convince the Federal Government that the LIP fund should be continued, outside of Rick Scott demanding that it should and the government refused to extend LIP.  But there would be plenty of federal money available for healthcare if the state would just expand medicaid.

With the Federal government offering to pay for 100% of the costs of expanded medicaid for the first three years of its implementation,  and 90% thereafter, Florida did nothing and let that money pass by.

The benefits of accepting expanded medicaid far outweigh the benefits of the LIP fund.  Medicaid expansion provides individuals with medical insurance; while the LIP fund provides hospitals with payment if they should care for someone who cannot afford to pay for services.  If an individual does not have medical insurance, they are more likely to not get healthcare when they need it.  This can lead to unnecessary complications and even death in some cases.  When they do need it, it is usually urgently needed and may be a life or death situation, so they are more likely to go to an emergency room where prices are much higher.  Expanded medicaid would save lives.  The LIP fund merely save some costs for hospitals.

There is a reason why hospitals, the Chamber of Commerce, medical device manufacturers  and others in the medical profession have favored expanding medicaid.  Not only does it mean more money for business, it also means a healthier state population and a healthier state economy.  Denying expanded medicaid makes Republicans in Florida seem very ignorant.

It is beyond time for the Florida House to stop their war against the poor in Florida.  It is time for Republican leadership to show that they are not right wing nut jobs.  It is time to accept medicaid expansion and get back to the business of serving all people of the state.  It is the correct thing to do.  It is the economical thing to do.  It is the moral thing to do.

And there is little time left to do it.