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Rick Scott and Scott Randolph pen competing essays on Medicaid expansion

Gov. Rick Scott is pushing back against critics of his choice to reject the federal Medicaid expansion, emphasizing in this opinion-editorial that it will be a costly policy move for states and the better strategy is -- you guessed it -- to create jobs so more people can afford their own insurance.

His piece appeared on U.S. News and World Report's "Debate Club" blog on Tuesday. Among experts arguing for the expansion is Democratic Rep. Scott Randolph, D-Orlando, who says "uninsured care costs Floridians at least $5 billion per year—not including what hospitals just write off."

It follows a report from the Tampa Bay Times this weekend that quoted several health experts who warned the costs of not expanding Medicaid could outweigh the price of implementation. How? Florida's 3.8 million uninsured residents will continue to receive care they don't pay for in emergency rooms, which will continue getting passed down to people who buy insurance in the form of increased premiums.

Scott writes: 

History has repeatedly shown that the costs of many government healthcare programs far exceed early projections. Why does anyone expect the expansion of Medicaid would be any different? We don't need the federal government telling us what to do when it comes to meeting the needs of the citizens of our states. And we don't need Washington putting states on the hook for future budget obligations.

Medicaid expansion is bad for states because it would put a tremendous strain on state budgets and increase dependency on government programs. We don't need to expand a big-government program to provide for everyone's needs. What we need is to shrink the cost of healthcare and expand opportunities for people to get a job so more people can afford it. In Florida, Medicaid is the fastest-growing part of our state budget—hands down. It is increasing at more than 3.5 times the rate of our general revenue. And that's before we even begin talking about an expansion.

It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that such a trajectory doesn't bode well for our budget. And unlike the federal government, which isn't required to balance its budget, expanding Medicaid could only be paid for by increasing taxes or cutting from other parts of the state budget. The Medicaid expansion would put other vital government functions like education, public safety, and infrastructure at risk. Frankly, that isn't something I'm willing to do.

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Comments

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Big Voice

Tell Rep. Scott Randolph that illegal aliens cost Floridians $5.5 billion a year and I sure don't see him jumping through hoops to support e-verify or any other measure to reduce their numbers.

Ask Randolph why Democrat Governors are backing away from this if it is "free" like he and his friend Obama state. Simple there is nothing in the bill that pays for the Administration. That could amount to hundreds of millions of dollars the first year.

Come on Scotty Randolph what say you? Or do you hide behind the pink slip of your wife's dress?

whasup

So because we taxpayers are already paying $5 billion each year so hospital corporations and doctors and other health care workers can make bank by caring for the uninsured, we should increase that amount by $2.2 billion? (Yes, health insurance buyers are taxpayers, too.)

That’s a 44% increase in our burden to help feed more into the voracious maw of the big, fat, ugly, health care-industrial complex beast.

And what is truly achieved by the ever expanding big government health programs’ and big insurance companies’ spending is to allow those gorging pigs in the health care system to raise rates without real scrutiny about their true costs.

Only when government and insurers stop overfeeding the beast, and when insurance buyers stop overpaying for coverage (that’s where those rebates came from), will the beast be brought to heel.

If you want the cost of insurance to drop, make individuals pay the full freight, instead of giving employers tax write-offs for buying it. Then the insurers won’t be able to overcharge.

If you want the caregiver beast to stop gouging citizens for health care, stop overfeeding their greed. Again, if the sick and injured have to pay for the care first, and receive reimbursement later from insurers or the government, then the beast will stop raping consumers and taxpayers like gangsters asking: “your money or your life?”

Reliable press organs like the L.A. Times and N.Y. Times have documented hospitals taking lower cash payments for diagnostic procedures than they charge insurers or the government. Why is that … really?

And shouldn’t somebody ask whether hospitals are writing off real non-paid care, or just using accounting gimmicks to both take government money for care, while also writing off as “unpaid” manipulated charges for those uninsured?

Neither Gov. Scott, the former boss of a hospital fraudster outfit, nor Rep. Randolph, an expert in taxing and spending for corporate welfare, really want to get to the heart of the problem of unaffordable health care. Nor does Obamacare get there!

Lindad

scott is so lame why even bother listening to him? he's not creating jobs and he's taking advantage of the state subsidized insurance whereby he's only paying a healthcare premium of $400 per year for both him and his wife. The extent of his hypocrisy is mind boggling!

Karen Anderson

I sure hope Gov. Scott does not get re-elected. He said he wants to see more jobs so people can afford insurance. In the meantime, these people should just die because they can't afford to go to the Doctor. This is plain cruel. And what about low-income seniors? It just makes me sick!!!

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