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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.

Follow me on Twitter: @omnisaurus

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April 10, 2013 at 7:32 pm

Expect less nurses working, shorter hospital stays, and less chance for elective surgeries like knees, hips, etc. Vince, RN.

April 10, 2013 at 11:29 am

I am sure glad that we have less than 50 employees. It would add approx $10-$25 to EVERY single labor hour we sell to cover costs of OBAMACARE! Hell, we are barely servivng OBAMANOMICS! These days if you still have your doors open you are doing very well.

April 10, 2013 at 2:24 am

how many billionaires said they would close their doors if Obama got reelected? People I don't care what anyone says it all has to do with creed. They old saying the hell with everyone else. People work hard for their money should keep their money. We are getting to the point in America the confederate dollar will be worth than the US dollar. You can have a trillion dollars and it won't be worth a dime. Course let see we will all be broke. Team Work. God Bless America.

Al Thopao
April 09, 2013 at 11:50 pm

Jay is perfect. A perfect fool. Where does this ditz think the money is coming from for this boondogle. Jay, it is being borrowed from the Chinese. They will call in their markers if we do not do what they ask. It is what we in the Marine Corps used to call "by the short hairs"

April 09, 2013 at 11:35 pm

I agree MacDonald doesn't have a clue. I do work in Healthcare and Obamacare will bankrupt (or finish bankrupting) what little money the govt has. Who is paying for it? The babyboomers with our social security losses and stock market losses. Obama is just trying to destroy the country from within...doesn't anyone have eyes???

April 09, 2013 at 11:07 pm

Trust me. Jay MacDonald is a complete idiot. He hasn't a clue what he's talking about.

April 09, 2013 at 11:05 pm

No, it's not. Clearly you are not talking to anyone who actually works in the healthcare field.

April 09, 2013 at 10:30 pm

Obamacare is not over. Wait until it kicks in in 2014. People are going to revolt when they finally find out how much it's going to cost them.

April 09, 2013 at 10:23 pm

Wow! That's awesome. The feds are going to pay for the first three years of the additional one million people added to Florida's rolls! Done deal! Who wouldn't want all of that free money?

Wait a minute... Where are the feds going to get that money from?

April 09, 2013 at 10:12 pm

Joe: Oh "YES" You are! Now get in line and conform!!
$20,000 for health care??? Hahahahahahaha.........That's impossible Joe! There's NO Health Care company in the U.S. that will be in business at $20,000 per policy. We DON'T make that much.
You're basically saying the insurance industry is deciding to close the doors.