If you live in Florida, you already know much of the story published in this month's Mother Jones: What's It Like to Wake Up From a Tea Party Binge? Just Ask Florida!
The horrors of reality for just a few of the many in Florida who don't have health insurance in graphic detail are just one part of the story, and it will likely only get worse as Florida has just been given the go ahead for privatizing Medicaid, provided that it's done with "transparency." If it weren't such a serious undertaking with potentially deadly consequences, the talk of such "transparency" would be a sick joke, given the state's more recent track record, but in Rick Scott's Florida, Inc., there's nothing funny about it. Truth may be stranger than fiction, but in this case it's dark enough to be the plot of a Stephen King novel. Given that King is a part-time Florida resident himself, I would imagine he might agree:
Take a man who ran a company that was dealt the largest fine in history for Medicare fraud, and who made a career out of preventing people from obtaining affordable health care, elect him as governor of a state chock-full of retirees, not to mention Republican and Tea Party lawmakers, give him free reign to run the state "like a business" and oh, while you're at it, put him in charge of privatizing Medicaid after he spent most of his time in office saying no to the same until he he was able to control it. So yes, truth is worse than fiction. After all, while he fights against your ability to get good health care without going bankrupt to do so, he pays less than $400 a year for his own.
Nice benefits, if you can get them. But you can't. You aren't Rick Scott, or one of his puppets in the legislature. Membership has its privileges.
Of course, the Mother Jones piece is only the beginning of the story, and many chapters are yet to be written. We're almost two years out from the next election and the chance to be rid of Scott and those Republicans. The only problem is, at the rate they're going, we may not be afforded that opportunity. If you take a look at some of what they tried to do in last year's legislative session, but failed, look at this year's agenda and you'll soon discover they haven't given up hope.
They botched the 2012 election in spite of rewriting the election laws, but now with promises of "reform" they probably won't make that mistake again if we let them. Anyone who pays attention to the Republican-Tea Party "business model" knows that "reform" has an entirely different meaning for them than it does for the rest of the world. (They're already taking "field trips" to voting equipment centers.) But there's lots to come between now and that election. Here's just a few of the things they've put on the table this year:
Giving Scott more power to pick judges. Today the House will take up a measure that gives the governor more control over judicial nominating commissions. Last year a similar measure passed in the House, but failed in the Senate.
"Is our children learning yet?" Much like "reform," the phrase "parental choice" isn't what it sounds like when it comes to schools. Last year, the controversial "parent trigger" bill failed after a tough fight. Unfortunately it's back this year, and Democrats say this time they can't stop it. As if he hadn't done enough damage to education here already, the Jeb Bush charter school privatization model will take root with Republican's help. Any hope of students learning how to do something other than take tests is now merely a dream for previously hopeful parents. Ka-ching.
Ethics? Again, not what you think it means. Delay the time frame to step out of elected office and immediately into a private lobbying firm? The Senate is all for it.......no, just kidding! And again, Ka-ching.
Domestic partnership rights? Sorry, you'll likely have to find a state that has moved on from the stone age. But those in Florida who speak out against it "pray for you." So there's that....
Court orders are nothing to sneeze at....unless you're in Orange County. In that case, they are ignored, especially if they involve a bill giving workers paid sick time. Spoiler alert, it's not exactly the "happiest place on earth" to work.
A wage you can live on? No, Orange County also says "no" to a living wage for the trouble of working while sick. (But bless you!)
The low cost of doing business. Tax giveaways to those "job creators" whether they create them or not, and if so, whether they pay a living wage if you're sick or not? You can probably bank on it, in spite of Rick Scott's track record.
Like clean water? Too bad, you're out of luck again this year, and for years to come unless things change. Take it from former Governor Bob Graham.
State Parks? Ditto.
Scott's goodie bag: The "Families First" budget. Yes, he's up to his old tricks what with his fuzzy math and education shell games, and Democrats are crying foul.
But then it's what we've come to expect from Rick Scott: Very little.
Of course it goes without saying, this year we'll probably see plenty of bills that allow abortions for no one, but guns for everybody, because that's just how the Republican-Tea Party rolls these days.
Those are just a scant few of the items up for this year. I've barely scratched the surface.
Now about that "election law reform......"