Florida Attorneys General McCollum and Bondi have led the national fight against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the Supreme Court. Following the US Supreme Court’s decision that largely upheld the ACA, what’s next, as in what will the most unpopular governor in the USA decide to do?
With Florida second with 21% only to Texas with 25% (second again to Texas) in the number of citizens without health insurance, it would seem like the court decision would be cause for celebration, that millions of fellow citizens would be able to obtain health care. You may want to hold off on uncorking that bubbly beverage.
The Supreme Court’s decision included removing the Feds strong arm tactic with the states, requiring them to accept the new Medicaid funding or lose the existing Medicaid funding as well. With that ruling, the ability of Washington to compel the states to participate in the ACA was eliminated. Uh-oh.
It’s still an awesome deal for the states.
To be sure, states have a lot to gain by complying with the Medicaid expansion, since the federal government pays 100 percent of the costs for the first two years and tapers funding to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond.
The administrative costs are a 50-50 split, but it still sounds like a tremendous winner. Just think of all of those citizens who will have some form of health insurance, who can get better care, relieving some of the uninsured costs, and likely helping the economy as a whole.
It isn’t as if the ACA hasn’t paid dividends already. Extending family insurance to young adults, removing the onus of pre-existing conditions, closing the “donut” hole in the seniors’ prescription plan are just a few benefits so far.
And there are real cash dividends, too, as insurers have to cough up rebates, like $123.6 million for insurance companies failing to meet the 80/20 rule on health expenses versus administrative expenses mandated by the ACA. Plus, other money has come to Florida from the ACA – another $119 million for a variety of services. Finally, add $400 million more to the total – the just publicized funding for conversion to digital records. (How overdue is this?) Add it all up and it’s beginning to look like real money.
Yet with all of this talk of benefits, pluses, advances, cash, and progress, we have neglected the most important criterion in today’s Florida, the single factor that outweighs all practical considerations. That is ideology.
Although we’re only hours past the court’s announcement of its decision, at least we haven’t had the door slammed already (see Walker, Wisconsin/bandwagon), but you get a sense it isn’t far off, like maybe Monday. Here is some of what the Governor’s office said today:
“…The Justices have declared that the central provision of ObamaCare is a judicially mandated tax. A new tax pure and simple.”
Focusing on the “tax” angle is one big hint; taxes are bad, very bad, very, very bad, even evil, in case you had not heard.
“With the national economy struggling to recover, now is not the time to implement a massive social program that injects nothing but uncertainty and doubt into our economic system. By doing so, they have put up yet another major roadblock to efforts to get people back to work and forced the government into the important relationship between patients and their doctors.
He seems to be hitting all of the talking points, no matter how idiotic they are. Since we all know how the “Jobs Governor” is really the “Corporate Profits Governor” (he doesn’t see any difference), he is also focused on the business costs. You have been asleep since his election if you think for a moment that he cares one iota for people … well, who aren’t wealthy.
Then he drops the I-bomb:
“I stand with Justice Kennedy that the entire act should have been held invalid.”
Need we say anymore? This is the same governor who threw back billions – billions! – in Federal contracts while his state’s unemployment was in double digits, primarily for ideological reasons.
Rick Scott can do one better than Justice Anthony Kennedy. He can make it as invalid as he can in Florida with his executive authority and with the support of the knuckle-dragging GOP cohort in the legislature.
Scott will refuse the money, and Florida will resume its race with Texas to see who can have the most uninsured citizens.