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Battle over Obamacare is over

By Jay MacDonald ·
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Posted: 10 am ET

We may be hopelessly conflicted on climate change, addicted as we are to that most practical of drugs, fossil fuel. We can't seem to get gun rights in our sights or to right-size our government. The din that yet surrounds both reproductive rights and same-sex unions continues, and it's as shrill as a bad 1980s hair band.

But the battle over Obamacare is over.

Last week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott officially threw in the towel, joining a half-dozen other Republican governors who've recently conceded after having spent the past three-plus years railing against President Barack Obama's landmark health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act of 2010 -- aka Obamacare.

What makes Scott's sudden change of heart more significant than that of, say, Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona, Gov. Susana Martinez of New Mexico or Gov. John Kasich of Ohio?

Two things: 1) Scott, a former hospital executive elected in 2010 as a tea party-backed reformer, led the 26-state constitutional challenge against health care reform that was largely rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court last summer; and 2), he caved on the one concession that the Supreme Court was willing to grant, which was to make health care reform's vast expansion of Medicaid optional for states, rather than mandatory.

Scott's pivot quickly incited his right-wing base, which labeled his change of heart a blatant samba to the political center in anticipation of a 2014 re-election catfight with former Gov. Charlie Crist, who recently switched from Republican to Democrat for much the same reason.

What the tea party failed to recognize is that Scott, who made his fortune as a bottom-line kinda guy, could hardly ignore the math. Florida has roughly 4 million uninsured, or about 1 in 5 residents. The proposed expansion of Medicaid would provide health insurance to more than 1 million of them, and the feds have offered to pay 100 percent of the cost to add them for the first three years beginning in 2014, sliding to 90 percent from 2020 on.

The expansion will not only save billions in "free" health care that hospitals provide by law to the uninsured (the expense of which is then passed on in the form of higher health insurance premiums), but it will also create roughly 71,000 jobs in the Sunshine State.

Sure, there are still a few GOP holdouts, including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley and Texas governor and former presidential candidate Rick Perry. But faced with uninsured populations equal to or greater than Rick Scott's 20 percent or so, the governors may decide that practicality will have to overcome politics when the numbers have all been crunched.

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Glen Thaxton
April 27, 2013 at 12:09 am

This country was founded on the principle of work not socialism. Socialism takes away from people. When we ultimately find out what this program costs, we will rue the day when the Nation took this socialistic path.

George Irwin
April 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

Obama Care will ultimately strangle of its own weight and twist and turn like a dead leaf in the wind. Then and only then will it be as the infamous ignoramus Joe Biden said, "This is a big deal!".

April 22, 2013 at 8:49 pm

I strongly believe that Obamacare will fail regardless of the first 3 years of federal compensation to the states. When 2014 rolls along, many people will be limited to a 29 hour workweek because their employer will avoid participating in the costs of these policies when 30+ hours is the gov't threshold requirement, therefore placing the full burden of costs onto the employees. Less hours of work with a new - yet undesired expense will cause people to demand a repeal. Sure, it may very-well kick-in as legislated, but when the enormous and unforeseen financial effects start to hurting people and the economy, there will be h3ll to pay.

April 20, 2013 at 11:40 pm

what ever happen to people paying their own way,oh i forgot the whites stole this land from Mexicans and Native Americans.and then formed welfare !!

April 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

I ask this, 2014 obama care will be , ... official, hmm was promised not to cost , wrong, the dictionary written law, has provisions for payments to this law by investments from investments, like lets say you buy a home and resell, a small amout goes to this law as a payment even if you have health care, wow, i got to pay for what i had no vote no say on and must give even if i supply my own different health care , ok what about big business, app. health care price they pay for insurance for a family now, lets sat 10,000. ok at 2014 , they can pay a 2000. fine, one time and say to you and your family you need get your own health care for we now will not provide becasue it is your responsiablity, and we paid the fine so we dont have too, math ways are we pay 2000. fine and gain 8000. ok good business venture agree. what is this going to do to all of us too?