Insurance Blog

Finance Blogs » Insurance Blog » Battle over Obamacare is over

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus

Subscribe to Bankrate newsletters today!

Bankrate wants to hear from you and encourages comments. We ask that you stay on topic, respect other people's opinions, and avoid profanity, offensive statements, and illegal content. Please keep in mind that we reserve the right to (but are not obligated to) edit or delete your comments. Please avoid posting private or confidential information, and also keep in mind that anything you post may be disclosed, published, transmitted or reused.

By submitting a post, you agree to be bound by Bankrate's terms of use. Please refer to Bankrate's privacy policy for more information regarding Bankrate's privacy practices.
Steve A
April 03, 2013 at 1:50 pm

There is still a fight in the courts on this. It is based on the fact that the Supreme court has declared it a tax. If it is a tax, the problem is that all revenue bills (taxes), must originate in the House, not the Senate as this bill did. Therefore, it is illegal based on that. Hopefully that case is heard sooner than later. I would bet that all the premium increases we have seen so far won't go back down either. So Sweet.

willaim Cash
March 24, 2013 at 1:08 am

the covereage provided means that the rest of us do not pay for the uninsured. Why should people pay for those who do not wnat to pay insurance for health bills. The uninsured cost the city and state millions which come out taxpayers wallets. There no free lunch when comes to medical needs. SOMEONE ALWAYS PAYS!

william cash

Aaron Cohn
March 23, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Absolute non-sense. This atrocity hasn't even been fully implemented yet, papajohns is raising the price of a pie because of it & employers are going to part-time workers because of it. The insurers have said health care premiums will go up 100% because of it, and I just got my premium increase notice from blue cross to the tune of 17% (probably just the start).

This will be a huge campaign issue in 2014, even bigger than 2010. I predict it will eventually be completely repealed.

March 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm

who wants to live in america?

Ron Parks
March 19, 2013 at 1:54 pm

This President got elected by promising something for nothing to the very large(and growing)segment of the population that want everything for nothing. He is so good at it that he can even get away with overpromising and blaming his opposition when he can perform as promised. Add to that base the numerous small groups who want to advance their unpopular causes and you have a majority. While these groups don't really have any affinity for each other, they are selfish enough to put up with anything that gets them what they want. Now, throw in some federal legal mumbo-jumbo and call it fairness when it is really just a smoke screen that prevents, even the simulence of, any effort to prevent election fraud and you have an unholy alliance that wins elections. At this point, it looks like America is done. I guess even the politicians we thought would stand with us can be bought if the offer is high enough. Winston Churchill once asked a rather lovely young lady at a state function if she would sleep with him for 1 million pounds. She quickly answered "Yes". Then he asked her if she would sleep with him for 5 pounds. She answered by asking indignantly, "what do you think I am"? Mr. Churchill responded, "We have already determined that... now we are bickering on price".

Joe Fitzgerald
March 18, 2013 at 4:16 pm

Obamacare violates our Constitutional principles/rights. CJ Robert's decision to rewrite the bill in order to declare it constitutional as a tax was akin to making a pseudo constitutional silk purse out of an unconstitutional sow's ear. Listen to Justices Kennedy, Thomas, Alito, Scalia in their powerful dissent: "We cannot rewrite the statute to be what it is not...Robert's deision is not a tax for the Anti-Injunction Act but it is a tax for constitutional purposes, that carries verbal wizardy too far, deep into the forbidden land of sophistry." Obamacare is an octopus of big government, centralized power, higher taxes, greater regulation, less individual freedom & health care of less quality and higher costs. It is as the Declaration says, "a long train of abuses and usurpations".
The Declaration also says, "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it."
Wrote a poem sometime ago, stapled it in my pocketsize Constitution for ready reference. Well rec'd. Serious but fun effort. Each line is a factual reason "to alter or to abolish" Obamacare. Now up on you tube, "Dad on Obamacare"

James J
March 17, 2013 at 12:01 am

There are two kinds of people in the world, those that produce and those that steal what others produce. I guess we all know to which group this articles author belongs!

March 13, 2013 at 10:56 am

On the state resorces are we, just an guess

Robert Summerlin
March 11, 2013 at 3:06 pm

@aime casavant - oh God forbid the young should spend their earned money on a new car, when they could be subsidizing your healthcare! Are you nuts? At what point did you start to think that you have a right to "young peoples" money? You are a thief.

Robert Summerlin
March 11, 2013 at 3:02 pm

It won't matter pretty soon anyway. The debt is UNSUSTAINABLE. Eventually, it will not be the GOP refusing to go along, but the banks, the Fed and the public refusing to put any more money into bonds. Anyone unable to see this is delusional, and I cannot wait to see you flounder while the rest of us have looked for alternative ways to provide for retirement and our well being. All I will say then is "i told you so" to every aquaitance/family member who voted this bunch of clowns into office.