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In defense of Rick Scott

Not many people (Republicans at least) are defending Rick Scott's endorsement of a proposed expansion of Medicaid in Florida. But today Sarasota GOP chairman Joe Gruters took a stab at it ... by blaming the media (and ignoring that all media really has done is quote prominent Republicans critical of Scott, while noting that Scott's actions directly contradict his previous statements).

But, hey...

Here's what Gruters wrote today:

Republicans and Conservatives,

Predictably enough, the media is having a heyday with Gov. Rick Scott’s decision to accept three years of federal funding for Medicaid under Obamacare, suggesting flip flops and crass political maneuvering for re-election — moving to the center.

That is their spin. Some conservatives are understandably upset with Scott for not standing against the expansion on principle, feeling like he has betrayed them.

But here is a more full context. Painful as it is to admit, the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, is the law of the land. With Obama’s re-election and the U.S. Supreme Court decision, the idea of it being overturned is now all but a pipe dream. However, if Republicans can win the White House and Congress, the worst parts may yet be able to be unwound.

And here is the point. The Medicaid expansion is not the worst part of the law. It was an existing program and the expansion is voluntary. Most states, Republican and Democrat, are going to accept the Medicaid expansion because it makes financial sense for the state.

While Obamacare overall remains unpopular — and Scott remains opposed to the law and its intrusive elements — the Medicaid expansion element of it is actually quite popular. It’s very popular in Florida, depending on how the poll question is asked.

About 1.3 million Floridians will get coverage, meaning billions of dollars will flow into the state’s already robust health care economy. That means jobs. Plus, Florida got a waiver it had been seeking to continue privatizing Medicaid for beneficiaries — an important conservative principle.

Is Washington, D.C. totally irresponsible fiscally? Yes. Out of control? Obviously. That question answers itself. But Gov. Scott has no control over destructive, spend-happy politicians in D.C.

Hospitals throughout Florida routinely absorb the costs of providing health care to low-income people not on Medicaid who cannot or do not pay their bills. That drives up costs for everyone else and hurts hospitals financially. According to the hospitals, the Medicaid expansion should alleviate many of those costs while creating new jobs.

Scott has said that much of his opposition to the expansion in the past was based on the federal money running out after three years, and not wanting the state saddled with those expenses. A reasonable caution. But the state has the freedom under the law to back out in three years if the finances don’t work. That might be politically difficult, but if we work hard enough to get Scott re-elected, he will be in Tallahassee to make that call.

Further, because of the Governor’s tough and sometimes unpopular choices in his first two years in office, the state is now looking at a surplus this year — after having billions in deficits the previous years.

Scott does not get much credit in the media for balancing the budget that Gov. Charlie Crist left in shambles. He never will. But we know what he has accomplished with Republicans in the Legislature.

Scott’s own success with fiscally responsible decisions is what makes the Medicaid expansion an option now.

Simply stated: From a state point of view, the positives far outweighed the negatives:

billions of dollars flowing into the state;
thousands of jobs created;
people getting health care that may not have;
hospitals getting reimbursements they were not, making them healthier;
and an issue taken off the table that Democrats would surely have demagogued.
Gov. Scott has done a terrific job with what he promised to do. Reigning in irresponsible federal spending was not among those promises.


Thanks for being informed and engaged.


Joe Gruters
Chairman

Comments

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Trey

Look people, not many of us like Obamacare, but Rick Scott is left with no choice. We have too many people in Miami who are working and have no health insurance. They drive up everyone elses health care costs. So what, the DO NOTHING crowd would have us paying all these high health care costs under Obamacare, paying high health care costs because of these uninsured showing up at hospitals everywhere clogging up waiting rooms, and now we all pay high taxes to the government on Obamacare, but dont get any of the federal money? That is just plain stupid.

I didnt vote for Rick Scott but might now. At least he's being thoughtful and appears to actually care about solving a problem.

Johnathon

No choice? This has to be a Scott plant. Ask VA Governor, ask Scott Walker, ask Rick Perry. There was a choice, the right choice and Scott chose poorly.

RIckiebobby

Oh sure, he has a choice. He can do what every other politician has done for 25 years on healthcare and thats stick his head in the sand and pretend there isnt a problem. Look buddy, I pay a lot in health insurance and its because these guys show up en masse to the ER and drive my insurance premiums through the roof. If giving them access makes this cost less, then so be it. As much as i hate to admit it, id rather give them free insurance then have them clogging up the ER with their 5 out of wedlock kids with colds and coughs.

Good decision Rick Scott.

Board Seats Cheap at FSU

Congrats Joe Gruters. You went to be a republican and woke up a full democrat. That's what it feels like to surrender your principles for a perceived political gain. Meanwhile, why isn't the Legislature on board with this? Was your "integrity" the cost of your seat on the board of trustees?

tony smith

Trey - your post is so crazy. The entire purpose of Obamacare is to reduce healthcare costs for all of us by having universal coverage. Scott and the other Tea Party nutcases opposed this -- calling it socialism. Now, you might support him? And you still hate Obamacare? Illogical.

tony smith

Rickiebobbie: Your post is equally illogical. The entire purpose of the Affordable Care Act is to reduce healthcare costs to everyone. Why applaud Scott? The purpose of the legislation has not changed. This has always been the purpose. He opposed it just to get elected. He misinformed the public just to get elected. The same idiots who supported him for bashing Obamacare are supporting him for utilizing it. STUPID. We need a Governor who supports good policy from the VERY BEGINNING - rather than suing to keep it from going into effect.

tony smith

Johnathon: Emulate Rick Perry? LOL. He's one of the biggest idiots ever to serve as a governor.

D

Rick Scott is a country club RINO and his obvious 2 year ass-kiss of only the wealthy is the reason Obama
won Florida.
His inept bungling and out of touch attitude even make die hard republicans wince.
Plenty of tax breaks for corporations, taxpayer funds to private companies with no savings for taxpayers.
Accounting tricks to pretend this outsourcing saves money.
Where are the tax cuts for the middle class? Sales tax cut? Gas tax cut? Car tags? fees?
Bill McCollum was a great candidate and would have been a great Governor.
Instead we get Scott....wonderful....
You can't even get around the fact that he just creeps people out.
Like seeing a roach in a restaurant after you finish eating.
If the state GOP doesn't have the sense to dump Scott and run Adam Putnam,
I am afraid we are just opening the door for future losses to the democrats.

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