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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 28, 2013 at 11:05 am

So you think its free.... foolish people...

Remember 2 presidents from now that it was this regime that brought about this health care system... When it fails you, dont blame the people in office then... Blame Obama...
When your 65 and cant get a hip replacement because you dont qualify and there isnt enoght money for the older gernerations needs, dont blame President who ever... Blame Obama.. but remember the Senators, Representatives and other officials have their own coverage. They will get all their medical needs taken care... You have to be crazy to be a doctor today.... You will pay for a high education, pay for mal practice insurance, have to pay to be a member of the hospital.... Pay Pay Pay... the American Dream goes away....

February 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

He is a disgrace to the United States. I cannot believe he was re-elected. This will be the worst four years in history. just goes to show half the the counrty half there heads uo there backsides.

douglas lee
February 28, 2013 at 10:46 am

we have only seen the cost of medical insurance rise since
the affordable care has been put in place.
people were led to believe that it was going to be free
so they voted for this regime.
when it is a mystery you know that something is wrong. no one knows how it will work for sure.
nothing is free even for the people who are free loading
free is just another fancy way to enslave people

February 28, 2013 at 9:57 am

Response to Tony---I am sorry to hear of your loss. Most of my wife's family past away from one form of cancer or another. Fortunately, none were displaced to the street. I did know the retirement payments made from the USPO were required. My point was, look at how the government has run this department into possible extinction. They just can't run anything correctly. Obamacare will be just like the USPO. You will see exactly how this great program will be run if you read the book Obamacare Survival Guide. Written in easy to understand language. Many say this will be less costly, or the government will be paying the states for the expanded Medicaid program. I raise the question, where does the government get the funds to pay the states??? From the taxpayers, so we will all be paying for this monstrosity in higher taxes.

February 28, 2013 at 9:07 am

why cant't we just keep just Medicare&Medicaid nothing else,,,

Bob Blount
February 28, 2013 at 8:56 am

I recommend that we go to a FAIR TAX so all will pay their fair share (more money you make, the more you spend and there is no tax free money. If you spend it, it is taxable). Abolish the IRS and all hidden taxes / loop hole (one exception, 1st home purchase, no others). Now, pay for the health care from the general revenue under the FAIR TAX. Abolish the politicians health care plan and put everyone on the GREAT (right) OBAMACARE.

February 28, 2013 at 8:51 am


February 28, 2013 at 8:34 am

why do they keep referring to obama care as Free, it isn't --- we (all of us that work or have an income that is taxed) will be paying through the nose for this. i.e. share the wealth. i ma sick of sharing the wealth with those that don't want to work because they won't make $20 an hour OR they don't take the insurance their employer offers because they don't want to pay anything!!

Dale Owens
February 28, 2013 at 8:26 am

Obamacare is still better then Reagancare.and cheaper.

February 28, 2013 at 8:04 am

I have to agree with Ray about his remark that, "if the government mandated insurance is so desireable, why isn't EVERYONE, FORCED to have it? Why is it OK for us to pay (for life) for all of the senators and congressmen's insurance which is 100% better than what the "average Joe" has? I've been in health care for 35 years,have poor insurance, and cannot afford to use my "insurance".