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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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February 27, 2013 at 6:12 pm

Hey everyone it is nice to say lets help those who need it. It is very honorable to support raising the minimum wage, increase medicaid, provide food stamps and unemployment. However, you all forget one very important thing--we are 16 Plus Trillion Dollars in debt. You can raise the Taxes on the rich, middle and everyone, but you will not put a dent in this debt. Sure Healthcare for all, free education, breakfast, lunch dinner and cell phones. The end result--USA MORPHS INTO GREECE. Didn't your mother ever tell you--If you don't have the money--don't do it.

Ralph Mayo
February 27, 2013 at 5:21 pm

im a vietnam vet.i live off of medicare. have been disabled since 2001. have heart issues, and lower back issues. untill obamacare i would have to come up with 15000 dollors before medicare would have paid anything for any back tests surgries etc. but since the law went into effectf they have to cover the "pre-exsisting" condition, my back. i have noticed paying a few more bucks for perscriptions, and my secondary ins went up, but is still a small price to pay for the greater good of the U.S.A.

February 27, 2013 at 5:08 pm

think about it this way people...Obama wanted votes...same thing with the illegals now...WANTING to legalize them now for more votes to stay in power....right...really think our system that we all have paid into can withstand such an impact after the baby boomers? really? lol nuts!!!

Isabelino Candelaria
February 27, 2013 at 4:47 pm

I served during the Korean war,because I work and had Insurance I never went to the VA for health benefits.55 years later when I retired and I started to get my VA benefits
because I did not have insurance,after all I have earned those benefits honorably .
It wasn't to long form that, when Mr.{ never served} in any branch of the Armed Forces
Took my benefits away.GOD BLESS OUR TROOPS as Mr. Bush always said but caring very little of what ever may the veterans that served very honorably do or die for the lock
of health care.I'm glad to see that now we have a President,that care about the poor people that are uninsured...

The name above may look funny to you ,but I'm a citizen by birth...Thanks


February 27, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Sean and Carolyn, I don't believe you have a clue as to what is going on in the real world... people like you only worry about one thing... and that is yourself. The reality of what is happening with most people in need is exactly what Maria, Jamee and Gina have stated. Yes, there are those cheaters that milk the system, and there will always be, but that does not mean we all, as one American community, should not do our best to help those in need, which in the end will benefit us all. And Ralph, you have the right attitude my friend... I am right there with you!!!! Obamacare has been a long time coming, and I am SO thankful it is finally here!!!

February 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

Can you name any government agency that is not going bankrupt? If I ran my finances the way the government does I would be living under a bridge. And now you're going to trust these geniuses with your healthcare. If Obamacare is so great, why did Harry Reid get an exception for his whole state? When Obamacare goes bankrupt, and it will, it will come down to how important are you to the "general good". Which means the elderly, who don't pay taxes, will be denied care. It's basic economics. Also, the CBO just concluded that Obamacare will add 6.2 trillion to the debt. I don't know where this guy got his numbers.

February 27, 2013 at 4:02 pm

If we re-formed the tax code to a federal sales tax only, more jobs would be generated for Americans and then the slackers wouldn't have an excuse to grub.

February 27, 2013 at 3:56 pm

A person can not live on a minimum wage job & buy food, pay rent & pay for health insurance. F.....k it they say & they sell drugs & scam the gubm't.

February 27, 2013 at 3:54 pm

What burns my a$$ is that I am on medicare & in addition to the $110 per month that is deducted from my S.S. check each month I have to fork over $260 additional to cover the 20% that medicare doesn't cover. I collect only S.S. & have no other means of income. Some of my neighbors are bums. Section eight housing, food stamps & a complete free ride with Medicaid. They pay SH*T, jack, natta. Where is the fairness on great one in Washington? If not for my pride, I'd say F....k it & collect welfare.

February 27, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Majority of the " Less Fortunate" don't want to get up and go to work. I make decent money as well but that doesn't mean i want to support the slackers. I know if I was broke I would do anything I had to to make money. Work at a minimum wage fast food chain, clean toilets, shovel S---.