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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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March 01, 2013 at 9:38 am

The battle against Obamacare has only begun. With sequestration kicking in, and more to come, the large mandate will be forced to become unfunded as more and more cuts will take effect. This is the largest piece of financial blunder in the history of the US. Healthcare costs are soaring. As the debt grows, and wages stagnate, the only plausible course is to cut government spending. And 5-10 years from now, this enormous waste of money will end.

March 01, 2013 at 4:20 am

@larry No, bro, the President wants none of those things, that's me you're describing. I do want higher taxes and a larger role for government, and I childishly demand for an end to the health insurance industry and free healthcare for everyone.

February 28, 2013 at 9:16 pm

The welfare system is poorly run with high expense on the tax payers. I feel confident with my guess that Obamacare will be "poor care" with underpaid doctors. The doctors will get poorly paid and the crooks in office will get most of the funds :)

February 28, 2013 at 9:11 pm

Did you know that people come from other countries to have surgeries here in the USA. A good example is joint replacements from top doctors in NYC :)

February 28, 2013 at 9:02 pm

There will be fewer people becoming doctors as this will no longer be the big pay job that years of school and dedication would get you.ObamaCare will be poor care...will Obama and his family use this awesome health care package :)

February 28, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I think all is great and this article is of the upmost bestest I have ever read. Obama is great and so is Osama :)

February 28, 2013 at 2:55 pm

Why won't you post my comments? Liberal-Biased Media selective editing? Don't want the truth to get out?

Suzy Hayes
February 28, 2013 at 2:40 pm

The U.S is the ONLY developed country in THE WORLD that has made their healthcare system FOR PROFIT. I would GLADLY have a portion of my TAX DOLLARS go to fund HEALTHCARE, I would GLADLY pay higher taxes for DECENT HEALTHCARE and/or to help someone less fortunate then myself...but I was born & raised in a BLUE STATE and looking at the "Stats" the BLUE STATES do pay more taxes, and the RED STATES gobble them all up, & then have the nerve to COMPLAIN about NOT WANTING TO PAY TAXES!!???

February 28, 2013 at 1:48 pm


Nothing in life is FREE... We AGREE. If you want your bridges repaired, trash picked up, its going to cost you.

Remember one President ago... Bank Failures, Mortgage bubble burst and A War this President & ALL Americans are paying for now.

Remember... We will PAY one way or another (You Know... Higher Premiums, Co-Pays, etc. Like NOW!) for Uninsured Americans. You Remember... those uninsured Americans that need the EMERGENCY ROOM in yours & my community.

So why don't we AGEE to vote for a Congress & Senators who will make sure Americans will get the HealthCare they need... YEARS FROM NOW!

One last thing... We must Educate our Children. I don't mind paying for Higher Education because I don't know whose child will develop a cure for Cancer or other illness.

It's not FOOLISH to care about your fellow Americans.

February 28, 2013 at 11:48 am

The president is a socialist!. All he wants is bigger government & dependency on it. He is arrogant and childish in his demands. I can't for the life of me understand how he gets away with everything, maybe he plays the race card better than we think?