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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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Tim McGuire
April 16, 2013 at 8:02 pm

This is just one way of many that this Socialist president plans to destroy America from within. Obamacare will be one giant clusterf _ _ _ which it was designed to be so that people will thankfully approve a single payer system, one giant Medicare. That too is going broke fast.

April 16, 2013 at 9:07 am

if you take a look at his budget if congress failes to raise enough tax revenue to fully fund the entire program then he will declare a national emergency to preserve life in the country and pull the money out of our national emergency fund. This is the fund we use when we have catastrophes like katrina and 911. hope we dont have a real emergency.

April 16, 2013 at 3:38 am

Yes we can....ruin our health care system. I know it wasn't perfect but it is really going to be mess now. The hospital I work at is cutting everything they can like crazy to meet this budget/mandate. While our congress can just run a deficit businesses in the real world can't do that so hospitals are cutting services, staff, and anything else they can to meet budget. So get ready for longer waits in the ER longer waits for appointments and test. Less patient care and higher insurance rates is already happening as we speak!

gary berliner
April 15, 2013 at 11:51 pm

Laughable. There is no money to pay for it. Rationing an already broken system, just means no adequate care for anyone. Of course the political elite have their own separate system, also paid for with tax dollars...

Gene Poole
April 15, 2013 at 5:43 pm

Nothing to do now but get ready to pay thousands more for healthcare. Obamacare has closed three clinics in my area, they had to shut down due to lower Medicare reimbursements. Now our main Hospital has to Service all the patients from the closed clinics, without an increase in staff. The Hospital had to cut staff due to lower Medicare reimbursements i.e., Obamacare. Notice a trend here?

April 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

and I am hearing that in the next 2-3 years, it will jump another 50+% again...

Ron what I want to know is why CIGNA and AETNA aren't doing more to be players in this mess. Like it or not, we need something! You've noticed how we still have a lot of unemployed/uninsurable people out there since 2008, What would you do? I know Gov't SHOULD NOT regulate commerce, but maybe we should look at it as more than that and work on making it AFFORDABLE. Haven't you ever wondered why we as a country have to pay more for meds, yet other countries pay way less for the same? It's a racket anyway, right?

Jan Klima
April 11, 2013 at 8:33 pm

I should hope that soon our government starts taking care of American taxpayers and not the worlds people who do not have a job. I am and I know thousands of other taxpayers are getting mighty tired of paying for everyone else, either by higher taxes or prices. I am tired of seeing foreign people who you know have never worked in this country with a medicaid card or a well card, that my taxes have paid for and now I am going to pay higher health coverage. Shame on our elected officials for taking our money and not doing their job.

April 11, 2013 at 7:16 pm

The real question is where does the "Fed" get the money to pay for all that coverage? One way or another it is going to come out of the pockets of those working wether it is a tax or a fee for insurance. The funny part is that it wasn't a tax until it became necessary to call it a tax in the arguments during the supreme court hearing.

Lionell Griffith
April 11, 2013 at 6:01 pm

Don't count on Republicans doing anything but prancing and posturing. The only thing Republicans have been good at for over 100 years is caving in to the statist politicians of any party and being better Democrats than the Democrats themselves.

That they support the constitution and individual rights is simply a facade. As near as I can tell, not one of them have any principles that they are willing to hold onto without compromise. It is all a one way ever repeating deal between the not so good and the even less good degrading to the point of oblivion.

April 11, 2013 at 3:06 am

It's not over, just delayed... when 2016 rolls around and everybody finally realizes the full impact of this, hopefully voters will wake up and realize who did this to them...If they do, the Republicans will surely repeal this albatross faster and Biden can put his foot in his mouth.

I know my insurance premiums have already gone up by over 50%, and I am hearing that in the next 2-3 years, it will jump another 50+% again... Thanks for the "AFFORDABLE" Health Care... I guess the Democratic party is using those imaginary number math... because the real numbers don't add up to what they are touting...