Rick Scott's latest attempt at campaign grandstanding (at taxpayer's expense?) failed miserably today when he held a "rountable" with some seniors in Boca Raton. He used the meeting to try and scare seniors over Medicare Advantage cuts for campaign publicity, but it blew up in his face:
Gov. Rick Scott assembled about 20 seniors here this morning for a roundtable discussion on Medicare Advantage cuts under the federal health care law — an issue Scott and Republicans have used to criticize Obamacare.
But the group that met with Scott at the Volen Center had few complaints and said they hadn’t experienced many changes since the Affordable Care Act took effect.
That's because those Medicare Advantage cuts aren't happening. But Rick Scott knows that. The cuts are a familiar Republican scare tactic used to try and attack the President's Affordable Care Act, which is also working well, much to the chagrin of the GOP, who have all but given up their attempts to repeal it. The cuts simply aren't happening. In fact, the only place those Medicare Advantage cuts exist are in the Republican's Ryan budget, and if they were to get their way, the ax would indeed fall. But under the ACA? Not happening.
In fact, one of those seniors told Scott that Medicare Advantage is saving her money by making her drugs more affordable. Apparently she didn't get the memo the Florida GOP and Scott worked so hard to craft. Facts are fickle things.
Not that Scott didn't get any complaints. He did get one:
One woman praised Medicare Advantage for making drugs affordable, but did say she’s had trouble finding an orthopedic surgeon to do a knee procedure.
One complaint. One.
But naturally, Scott had a script to stick to, and so he did:
Scott mentioned her concerns later to reporters.
“As I travel the state, what I hear from people is they’re having a harder time getting physicians. One lady here talked about the number of orthopedic surgeons that are now, she can’t get an orthopedic surgeon to help her,” Scott said.
In all his travels across the state, he found one woman who had difficulty locating an orthopedic surgeon. Who knows why that is, but it's probably due to any number of other issues, and not the fault of any changes due to ACA. After all, orthopedic surgeons aren't exactly hard to find in Florida. As a former hospital chain owner and operator, Scott also knows this.
That wasn't all the seniors had to say to Scott, and I'm guessing this is the last kind of thing he wanted to hear:
But Ruthlyn B. Rubin urged Scott and seniors to take a broader view.
“We’re all just sitting here taking it for granted that because we have Medicare we don’t want to lose one part of it. That’s wrong to me. I think we have to spread it around. This is the United States of America, it’s not the United States of Senior Citizens,” Rubin said.
Yes. That would be Medicare for all. Or, a public option. As the polls show over and over again, people don't just like the ACA, they want it to do more. Not less, as Scott wanted to portray.
One of the things that does scare seniors, and not just in Florida: Losing their Medicare. And the same Republicans who wanted to kill the ACA also want to kill Medicare. That's next on their agenda. (Social Security too, for that matter.) Had they gotten their way and won the 2012 election, they would have progressed further toward that end.
Scott and the GOP would love nothing more than to kill the ACA and put insurance companies back in charge, and to privatize Medicare, which would drive up costs for seniors, and drive up profits for those making their fortunes on the backs of patients in the health care industry. Like Rick Scott. And the GOP-Ryan budget is the only scenario where chipping away at the ACA, privatizing Medicare, Social Security, and those Medicare Advantage cuts would take place.
Yet Republicans like Scott are trying to scare seniors into thinking Obamacare is bad because they have a vested interest in seeing it fail. And it didn't fail.
The seniors at Scott's meeting showed they know what the rest of the country is finding out: The ACA is good, and it's working as planned where roadblocks don't prevent implementation. In this case, it's working even in spite of the roadblocks that Scott and the GOP have set up. The only place they've succeeded in killing it is by blocking Medicaid expansion, which is also killing Floridians every day.
What seniors and the rest of us should fear is Rick Scott and the Republicans, and that fear is sinking in deeper every day, not just for us, but for Scott.
The little charade in his latest exercise at political theater just blew up in his face for all the world to see.