Before the November election last year I wrote that the first four years of Rick Scott's arrogance and incompetence would pale in comparison to another four years under a two-term governor with nothing to lose when there's no longer an election to worry about.
Well, the wait to see that come to fruition is over.
Coming on the heels of his arrogant politicization of the FDLE and his blatant ignorance of Sunshine Laws (again), now comes another chapter in the Republican Medicaid expansion fight, coupled with the upcoming actions of the U.S. Supreme Court that could very well take affordable health insurance away from over a million previously uninsured Floridians who signed up under the Affordable Care Act. Those newly insured clearly love the benefits of having health insurance (yes, Republicans among them) and no longer face the worry that they're just one step away from bankruptcy should they get sick.
That could all end very soon if conservatives on the Supreme Court end ACA subsidies and return Americans to the days when their health, life, and death were at the mercy of corporate insurers. "Obamacare" is more than a talking point and a scare tactic, and the previously uninsured like making decisions about their own health care without losing everything they have due to an illness without it. Some Republican politicians are beginning to realize that, but many more still don't, or they do but just don't care.
Put Rick Scott into the latter category.
In case there's anyone left who thinks Scott cares if even more Floridians die without health insurance, this quote from Scott in the New York Times should clear that right up for you. When asked what would happen if those insured under the ACA in states who didn't create a state exchange, like Florida, lost their subsidies because Florida refused to set up such an exchange, Scott simply dismissed those Floridians as if they were excess baggage:
This week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case, King v. Burwell, that challenges the legality of the subsidies in more than 30 states, including Florida. The case, developed by conservative legal scholars, argues that only people using state-run marketplaces are entitled to subsidies.
If the court agrees — a decision is expected in June — subsidies will disappear in states that do not have their own online marketplaces, almost all of which have Republican-led governments that oppose the law and have resisted creating state exchanges. No state would be more affected than Florida, where more than 1.6 million people have insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, the most in the nation, and almost all of them receive subsidies.
Yet there is little talk of a Plan B here, such as creating a state-run exchange where subsidies would still be available, if the Supreme Court strikes down the subsidy program. Asked about the case last month at the American Action Forum, a conservative advocacy group, Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican, said, “This is not my program.” He added, “It’s a federal problem.”
Not his problem.
Never mind that, had Rick Scott lifted a finger to make sure those in Florida had an exchange to make access to the ACA easier, there wouldn't be this "federal problem."
Never mind that Florida has one of the highest rates of uninsured in the country, a number that has significantly decreased thanks to "Obamacare."
Never mind that a SCOTUS ruling against ACA subsidies would add millions more to the uninsured fallout facing those who fall into the Medicaid gap that Scott so carefully dug for them.
Millions more Floridians could once again face the very real possibility that they could die, or lose everything without access to affordable health care, millions who find that Rick Scott's policies have made such everyday basics a much more distant goal to reach. Scott's turned Florida into a state where merely getting by with the basics of everyday life are available only to wealthy individuals.
Scott fought with the health insurance industry against everyday Americans before he became governor. Then he sat back and refused to set up state exchanges under ACA and turned away federal money to expand Medicaid much like he did when he sent Florida taxpayer dollars elsewhere for a high-speed rail project that was in the works for years. When it became clear that turning away all that Medicaid money could be politically damaging to Scott, he once briefly made a statement that he wouldn't stand in the way of Medicaid expansion, and then sat back and watched as Republicans in the legislature made sure it never happened. While much of the conservative media in Florida would have you believe that Scott still favored Medicaid after that one mention, there's been zero evidence to back that up. Clearly, Scott's dismissal of the rest of those in Florida who may lose their insurance along with those who fell into his Medicaid gap who could never get it in the first place ends this notion that he cares.
He doesn't, and he couldn't get much more arrogant about making sure Floridians know it. It's "not his" problem.
How is it that the governor who claims his goal is to make Florida the best place for families to live and work, thinks not having access to something as basic as health care and insurance isn't his problem? A problem that he helped create in the first place?
You can't get much colder, more arrogant than that.
Rick Scott's outdone himself this time.