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Battle over Obamacare is over

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
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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165 Comments
Duke
February 28, 2013 at 6:50 am

If our country is going under it is because of the tea party infestation of our govt. - but it is good to know that Trump can keep his tax loopholes and Romney can keep hiding his multi-millions in the Cayman Islands. Just sayin'

Karen
February 28, 2013 at 5:52 am

Ray - Why would you call Tony an idiot? His statement was about uninsured Americans. Americans who do pay taxes and work hard. His Brother died from Cancer and the loss income from his job {Management} led to his Brother wife being put in the street.

Your comparison of Auto Insurance vs. Health Insurance indicates you may be mentally ill. All Americans can decide to drive or own a car; however, Americans don't decide to get cancer or sick.

Uninsured Americans will make all Americans PAY One way or ANOTHER. So tell which way YOU want us to PAY for Uninsured Americans, because they will show up @ your local Emergency Room too.

Tony
February 28, 2013 at 4:54 am

1. Response to Dave... You know that US Congress has mandated USPO (United States Post Office)pay in advance billion of dollars into a retirement program for its workers. The Post Office is a program (1 Program that works for us all) that works for rural America... It's working... if a combat soldier can send a letter to his Mother, Wife or family.

2. Response to Colette... I believe nobody close (family or friend) to you ever had Cancer. I loss a Brother to Cancer and he could not get Government help or any help to pay his medical bills; therefore, his wife was put into the streets after his death. My Brother was Management for the New Jersey Transit... the Cancer forced him OUT and Pre-existing conditions prevented him from getting other coverage.

Obamacare helps Hospials doors remain open in our Community when uninsured Americans show-up in emergency rooms. If you have a solution... POST IT.

I got it... Obamacare may not be perfect... but... its step. If you think uninsured Amerians will heal themselves... I understand your position... if not... They will make all of us pay one way or another. ....

RONALD REGAN
February 28, 2013 at 1:53 am

THIS COUNTRY IS IN THE TOILET AND WERE ALL TO BLAME FOR IT! STUPIDITY, LAZINESS AND GREED GOT US HERE!! DON'T POINT FINGERS LOOK IN THE MIRROR ! CHINA AND INDIA WILL BE THE NEXT SUPER POWER ECONOMIES. THIS IS WHAT WE GET.. ENJOY...dimwits

Sonny
February 28, 2013 at 1:27 am

Obamas Muslim tactics of obama care is working ...to destroy the USA

FRANK
February 28, 2013 at 12:59 am

WOW TO THE PERSON THAT POSTED THAT MOST OF THE PEOPLE THAT ARE WITHOUT HEALTH CARE ARE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. YOU ARE LIVING IN A COCOON FROM SOCIETY , MAN WHERE ARE YOU FROM THERE ARE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS CAUCASIONS, BLACKS, HISPANICS AND MANY OTHERS THAT ARE ALL LEGAL, JERK!!!!

Ann
February 28, 2013 at 12:20 am

Obama should never have gotten back into offfice. His wife and mother-in law have all the money they need and more besides. He isn't woring about us and Medicare and Social Security, he is making history which will surly fail one day. GOD BLESS AMERICA BECAUSE WE REALLY NEED IT. WHO IS OBAMA? NO ONE REALLY SEEMS TO KNOW.

stan
February 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

here is what everyone is missing... where is the federal govt going to get the money to pay for obamacare.. answer the taxpayer.. nothing is free and our only hope is that we go bankrupt before this get implimented. if we are forced to be on this program than congress along w/ barry should be as well.. cowards that they are

ray
February 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm

TONY - HERE IS YOUR ANSWER.. U ARE AN IDIOT..TRY READING OBAMACARE BEFORE YOU POST. MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO ARE UNINSURED ARE ILLEGAL.. IF GOVT MANDATED INSURANCE IS SO DESIRABLE THEN HOW COME NO ONE IN CONGRESS INCLUDING OBAMA HIMSELF IS UNDER THIS LAW. IF NATL HEALTHCARE IS SO IMPORTANT WHY NOT JUST GIVE US THE SAME POLICY CARE THAT THEY GET. WHAT PEOPLE ARE MISSING IS THAT THE US IS BROKE ON THE VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY AND WHEN THEY CANT AFFORD TO PAY FOR TREATMENTS FOR THE SICK THEN THEY WILL DECLINE TREATMENTS "GIVE THEM A PILL" AS OBAMA HAS STATED AND LET GRANDMA DIE. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE HEALTHCARE AFFORDABLE FOR ALL THEN UTILIZE THE SAME RULES THAT CAR INSURANCE COMPANIES APPLY. WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS MAKING THE DECISION FOR YOUR LIFE THEN YOUR LIFE WILL BECOME USELESS... YOU NEED TO PAY MORE ATTENTION TO WHAT IS GOING ON AROUND YOU. HOSPITALS CLINICS AND DOCTORS ARE AND WILL BE LEAVING THE PRACTICE. GET A CLUE

Ken
February 27, 2013 at 11:00 pm

Chet

Just a reminder that the Healthcare Act starts in 2014. I know you and your wife need help now. If you live in Texas, your wife may not get any help and you may pay more than $479.00 in 2014.