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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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February 27, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Colette you must have read the bill. Their is a panel called the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) The new board won't be a rubber stamp on the wishes of the White House and Congress as it will operate independent of their control. Former Senator Tom Daschle, one of Obamacare's most important architects, tellingly declared in his 2008 book Critical; "The Federal Health Board I envision for our country would be modeled on the U.S. Federal Reserve System." It will consist of a heavyweight panel of 15 experts chosen from academia, think tanks and the healthcare industry. Appointees will be handpicked by the president and must be approved by the Senate before they can take their seat. They will be asked to make cost cutting recommendations for Medicare whenever spending per person in the program rises faster than the Consumer Price Index, something which seems likely to occur more often than not. The Republican party has expressed a desire to eliminate the board before it gets started. Even if the IPAB convenes, Congress could neutralize its power by stipping away its funding.

February 27, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I cant believe people like Colette are still thinking its the "death squad" insurance plan. Its a plan for healthcare being provided, not the government paying for it.People have already been forced to decide whether or not to go to the doctor or hospital because of high costs long before this healthcare plan was even proposed. And remember it was Mitt Romney who actually initiated the original plan. Others have been mouthing off about it like our healthcare system in the US has been in tip top shape and nothing was wrong. Perhaps you should actually read some of the plan and then make an educated comment. Whether you agree or not, its good to see a President actually try to solve some problems. Ive seen many years of politicking on healthcare and immigration as well as a nation complaining about the same. Now somone stands up and actually deals with issues and suddenly its his fault.

February 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

What happens when the Federal Government runs out of funding for the program?? Think it can't happen look at the USPO!!! Show me one program the govt. has that actually works the way they tell you it is suppose to. Obamacare will cost millions if not trillions more than the govt. has told us. We will have health insurance but at what cost to the taxpayers. That money that is paying for the Medicaid expansion has to come from somewhere and that some where is the taxpayer. Not just the rich taxpayers, but from all of us. Where else does the govt. get their money from us.

February 27, 2013 at 8:05 pm

What people don't get is National healthcare, aka Obamacare, will be one big HMO. Only, with this HMO, you'll have government bureaucrats deciding who is "worthy" to live and who is "unworthy" and will die. Of course, it won't be in a blatant decree. It will be by refusing vital services and treatment to those who are deemed too old or too sick to waste finite tax dollars on their treatment after doing a cost-benefit analysis. This decision won't only affect the old, who in many liberal's eyes have "already lived their lives". It will also affect those who are chronically ill requiring costly ongoing medical treatments and services......of all ages. It's a simple mathematical equation. When you only have a certain amount of money to spend, then you have to prioritize how you spend that money. And when the money runs out, those on the bottom of the priority list do without.

February 27, 2013 at 7:53 pm

The math doesn't add up - it's going to take 71,000 jobs to provide health insurance to 1,000,000 people? So that means that each worker covers just 14 people for a year. No wonder our health costs are out of control.

February 27, 2013 at 7:46 pm


February 27, 2013 at 7:33 pm

what is obamacare and who is qualified

February 27, 2013 at 7:22 pm

what do you mean slowly man its,down.Our forefathers must be rolling over in grave trying to figure where did the boot straps go.

Luke Brennan
February 27, 2013 at 7:19 pm

Thatis the reason I got into Health Insurance as a broker... It has been wonderful to help people navigate their way through the Obamacare web... got qestions on coverage? drop a line to Aplanforyou2 at gmail dot com

February 27, 2013 at 6:18 pm