(Graphic: Florida CHAIN)
Apparently anxious to get started on their continued "war on Floridians," House Republicans couldn't wait for the legislative session to start before rejecting the Medicaid expansion in a vote of the House committee on the Affordable Care Act.
In spite of things like actual facts, they rejected it, saying that they don't "trust" the government to come through with the money. Of course, what this translates to in Republican obstruction-speak: It's ObamaCare, and therefore we will not allow it.
Republicans voted against it even though lobbyists for Associated Industries of Florida were in favor of expansion:
Only a few hours after Florida's chief economist said the state can't afford to leave billions of federal dollars sitting on the table, the House committee on the Affordable Care Act voted to do exactly that.
The vote fell along party lines, as the Republicans on the committee said they didn't trust the federal government to come through with the money, given the state of the federal budget. They also expressed an extreme distaste for the Medicaid program, saying it's far inferior to private insurance.
Never mind that people of low income can't afford the high price of private health insurance, which is part of the point. Never mind that it would also create jobs. Today's Republican Party is stunningly fact-averse, and when you combine that with just flat out not caring about the constituents they're supposed to be working for, reality and information like this mean absolutely nothing to them:
Amy Baker, coordinator of the Legislative Office of Economic and Demographic Research, laid out several scenarios based on different assumptions. But they all pointed in the same direction: Florida cannot afford NOT to expand Medicaid, she said.
[The Senate committee’s numbers man, Orlando-area Republican David Simmons, told Baker that her numbers “make sense.” He had already figured out that the state’s employers would be hit if Florida doesn’t accept the federal funds that are being offered, he said.
“The burden on employers if we do NOT do Medicaid expansion is going to be significant,” he said.
Baker estimated that Florida would lose between $6 billion and $12 billion a year over the next 10 years if it says no to Medicaid expansion. That’s because the expansion is the only part of the Affordable Care Act that is voluntary.
So come on GOP. Don't bother with the "we don't trust the government" line. You were never going to accept the Medicaid expansion in the first place, which you've been saying right along with Rick Scott until he flipped on it, because it's part of ObamaCare. People know that. It's an insult to their intelligence.
Worse, the rejection for purely political gain at the expense of the people's lives whom you're supposed to represent, to put it mildly, is a disgrace.