Race to the Bottom

07.02.12

The Resistance Begins: Rick Scott Announces Florida Won't Take Medicaid Money

It's not shocking that Rick Scott becomes the first governor to announce officially that his state (Florida) won't accept the new Medicaid money under the health-care law. In case you're not up on the deets, it's the subsidies for poor and working-class people, up to 133 percent above the poverty line, to buy insurance.

Funny. I seem to remember a time when Scott was quite eager to take Medi-CARE money! That wasn't his. You remember what I'm talking about.

So this is what social programs mean to Scott. As a private-sector businessman, something to steal from. As a public "servant," something to play political games with. Floridians will die so that he can be first in the wingnut line.

I don't know the precise number, but in a state that size, surely a couple million people/families who'll be eligible for care under the new law in 2014--families of four earning up to $88,000 are eligible for the subsidies--will be denied the chance to buy coverage at subsidized rates because Scott has refused this money. From a policy perspective, this is the next battleground, the pressure point of resistance for the hard-shell ideologues. How many states will really sacrifice billions in federal dollars for the sake of ideology, and how many will do it before the election so they get a gold star from Rove?

Those interested in what we used to call facts may want to read through this nice primer from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, which describes the Medicaid transfer from the feds to the states and explains how the federal government will actually be picking up 93 percent of the costs over the next nine years.

As to biggest health-care news of the weekend, the John Roberts switch reported by CBS yesterday, I will have much more to say about that story tomorrow. But watch these Republican governors. If not for the poor people in their states, I say fine, let them refuse it. Saves me money since I live in Maryland and they're mostly moocher states anyway. It's just a few more of my tax spare change not going to Mississippi. All right by me.