The Florida alternative to Obamacare has, so far, been a bust.
Nearly six months after going online, and six years after the state's GOP leaders conceived it as a "free-market" response to calls for federal health reform, Florida Health Choices has found only about 30 customers, according to its Chief Executive Officer Rose Naff.
The online buying exchange, which has received $2.4 million in taxpayer funding since 2008, has also not secured deals with any major health insurers. For now, it mostly offers memberships to discount dental and vision programs.
Florida Health Choices received $1.5 million in startup funds from the Legislature in 2008, after getting the blessing of then-state House Speaker Marco Rubio. State lawmakers allocated another $900,000 to the project last year.
Just add that $2.4 million to the taxpayer's tab that Rick Scott and the GOP have already thrown away that's funding Medicaid in other states while Floridians die without it.
This "free-market success story" of the GOP's will need 67,000 customers in the first year to cover costs, according to the CEO of Florida Health Choices, but as they're at the halfway point for that deadline, they have 30.
Ladies and gentlemen of Florida, I believe we've located the actual train wreck.
Charlie Crist, Speaking With The Media During The 2010 BP Oil Spill (Photo: Martha Jackovics)
Regular readers of this blog are no doubt aware that I haven't always agreed with Charlie Crist in the past. When he was governor I didn't like everything he did, but I gave him credit where it was due, examples being the BP oil spill and his support for the much needed stimulus from President Obama for high-speed rail. The latter would have brought much needed jobs, and contrary to dishonest reporting from some news outlets recently, Florida taxpayers would not have faced extra costs. (See 22 Tampa Tribune articles between Oct. 11, 2009 - Oct. 30, 2013 for quotes from state and federal officials differing with Rick Scott's rationale and eventual rejection of federal funds, along with recent opinion writers who continue to promote misinformation on high-speed rail.) Others remember Crist's stimulus support as simply "the hug."
Yes, he hugged President Obama and dared to do something that was good for the state. That was when his own party turned on him. Because everyone knows if something's good for the state and everyday citizens, the Republican Party, both in Florida and nationwide, run from it. Especially if it comes from President Obama.
I haven't been extremely vocal in my support for Crist recently, but whenever I have, I've come under attack from Nan Rich supporters. Rich has sold herself as the only "true Democrat" in the race, and early on I defended her when the GOP attacked her, but that was a long time ago when she first entered the race. After Scott officially declared he was running for reelection as "CEO" of Florida, Inc., that changed. Suddenly the GOP loved Nan Rich. Why? Because they thought they could beat her. But here's the thing, instead of going after Scott, she embraced their support.
Little-known and struggling financially, Nan Rich might get some help from the unlikeliest of places during the Democratic primary race for governor: supporters of Republican Gov. Rick Scott.
Scott’s top political advisor and pollster Tony Fabrizio hinted at the scheme late Tuesday night in a rare appearance at the Women’s Republican Club of Miami.
Team Scott’s ultimate goal: vex Charlie Crist, a well-known former governor and Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat who might run against Rich to unseat Scott.
“I don’t know if Charlie Crist wins the primary against Nan Rich. And that’s not saying that Nan Rich wouldn’t have help,” Fabrizio said with a smile. “You never know. There could be interested citizens that like to help Nan Rich… Nan Rich is the true Democrat.”
Said Rich: “I’ll take all the help I can get so I can then beat Rick Scott in the general election. And I agree with Tony Fabrizio: let’s have a real Democrat face Scott so we can have a real debate.”
Coincidentally, the legal-lobbying firm of Becker & Poliakoff is fundraising for both Rich and Scott.
She would welcome help from the party that thinks she's the weakest candidate and the easiest for Rick Scott to defeat? That ended it for me. With all due respect to Rich, that sounded to me like she was in it for Nan Rich, not Floridians. If she managed to beat Crist in the primary, she would hand another four years to Rick Scott.
After two years in the race, nearly all we know about her views is she's pro-choice, pro-women, and that she wants to debate Charlie Crist. We need someone to fight back against the "War on Women," but we need more than just that.
A while back, a group called Progressive Choice, who refuses to say who's behind them and who's funding them, began saying similar things as Rich against Crist, and there was much speculation that the Rich campaign might be working with them. In April I wrote to the campaign to ask if they were involved with Progressive Choice. They said they weren't, but she shared their views, and pointed out that they agreed there should be a debate.
Many would have liked to see a debate between Crist and Rich, but it didn't happen. Now, it's the day before the primary. Voters shouldn't have to wait for a debate to find out where a candidate stands on the issues.
Wanting to debate isn't a plan. Welcoming help from the enemy isn't either. Nan Rich stated that she would welcome help from those who knew Rick Scott had the best chance to beat her. She was willing to sell herself out, and voters in the process, to give Scott another disastrous term. That's hardly being a "true Democrat."
Voters in Florida are tired of watching Democrats act like Republicans, and work with them to destroy anything that's good in the state. Under GOP control, Florida is fast becoming something no one recognizes anymore. Since Scott took over, we're at the top of the lists for poverty, low wage jobs, and letting people die without Medicaid. We're paying what amounts to corporate welfare to companies like Duke Energy who are also big polluters along with Big Sugar, and as we've seen recently, Scott and Republicans are profiting at our expense. Too often Democrats don't stand up for the rest of us, and some even join the Republicans in the same game.
I'm sorry, but Nan Rich told us early on where she stood: “I’ll take all the help I can get." from the Republicans who would work for her defeat at the hands of Rick Scott.
Charlie Crist tried to do the right thing for Floridians and Republicans turned on him. Crist stood up to the Republican Party, and still does to this day. Nan Rich, on the other hand, was willing to join them. If that meant Scott would win again, so be it.
Being a "true Democrat" means actions speak louder than words. Charlie Crist stood up for Floridians in the past, and he's standing up to Republicans destroying the state now.
I'm still on a semi-hiatus this week, but there's still plenty going on in Florida politics right now.
If you're itching to fight back against Rick Scott and the other Republicans in Florida there's a blogger, activist meetup taking place this weekend in Inverness with like-minded grassroots folks and Democratic politicians, including, I hear, Charlie Crist. (I won't be able to attend as Beach Peanuts is busy preparing to move operations later in the summer, we hope.)
So if you're free, see blogger SemDem's post here for more details, and head to Inverness if you can. It will be a great way to make a dent in SemDem's "My Stupid State" series, and I personally would love to stop writing about Rick Scott about as much as you want to stop reading about him and living under his version of "paradise."
It's NOT working, and it's time to put Rick Scott out of what seems to be for him, a VERY profitable job.
A state law allowing politicians to use blind trusts to avoid conflicts of interest is constitutional, a Tallahassee judge ruled Monday.
Gov. Rick Scott is the only statewide official who has a blind trust. He released copies of his federal tax return after qualifying to run for re-election.
That decision “was a step in the right direction, but the governor still has not provided the full and public disclosure of his finances required by the Sunshine Amendment,” said Sandy D’Alemberte, Apthorp’s lawyer.
Apthorp, in a statement, said he hasn’t decided whether to appeal Cooper’s decision.
Scott may be the only one who has a blind trust now, but something tells me he's started a trend.
As he said when asked for his views on climate change and what to do about it, Rick Scott responded by saying he's "not a scientist."
Well, he's not a scientist, he's an investor. That may be another reason he's not interested in doing anything about climate change or saving the environment in Florida:
Stretching from Alabama to Orlando, the Sabal Trail pipeline is a 474-mile project that will start delivering gas to Florida in 2017.
Florida Power and Light will be the main customer.
According to documents obtained by Eyewitness News, FP&L vice president Sam Forrest was on Scott's transition team. In that role, he drafted a proposal calling on the state to add an additional gas pipeline.
Forrest noted that legislation was needed. In 2013, Scott signed that legislation.
Shortly after, the Public Service Commission, made up of Scott appointees, approved FP&L's pipeline plan.
Not only was FP&L's VP on the transition team, but it turns out that Scott's so-called "blind trust" documents revealed that Scott invested in Spectra Energy, the company building the pipeline.
Naturally Scott claims he is shocked, SHOCKED to find that he has a vested interest in the company! Had no idea that his blind trust happened to stumble into a $53,000 stake in Spectra, an amount much larger than many people in Florida would make in a year.
I'm still on a semi-hiatus here due to ongoing moving preparations so my blogging has been spotty. It's been tough not being able to blog when Rick Scott's campaign seems to be on the verge of an implosion, but his past, as well as his present in being perhaps the worst governor in the history of governors, seems to finally be catching up to him. (See his latest poll numbers, where Crist is leading Scott by 6 points.)
However, this is one of those things I can't pass up. Coming on the heels of his fundraiser last night with the CEO of a prison privatization firm making huge profits from incarcerations, Scott is in good company and this latest video from the Florida Democrats is a good reminder why that is. It's a golden oldie that many may have forgotten.
Rick Scott's had a lot of practice at evading answers to basic questions, his latest being whether or not he supports same-sex marriage and avoiding an answer about using law enforcement as camapign props when it may have been illegal.
But back in 1995, he even refused to answer this basic yes or no question:
Q: "Is that a Xerox of your signature?"
Scott: "It looks like my signature, but...what's your question?"
Rick Scott thinks he's a CEO with a golden ticket in a blind trust. He thinks he's accountable to no one, least of all, to Floridians. It's time for voters to fire Scott before it's too late, because we can't afford another four costly years of Florida, Inc.
That's how Scott cracks down on crime and keeps Florida safe, by taking more cops off the streets so they can help him get reelected.
Yesterday, during another event, reporters tried to ask Scott about the incident last week. As usual, Scott refused to answer and instead used his scripted remarks, saying he supports law enforcement, and that everyone should.
While Floridians do in fact support law enforcement, we can hardly say the same for Scott, who seemingly disregards the laws when it comes to taking on duty police officers off the streets to be used for his own political gain. The streets with absent officers that day were not as safe, and we can only hope there were no incidents as a result of Scott's little deceptive exercise.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is facing a tough re-election fight against former Gov. Charlie Crist (D) kicked off a tour on Monday highlighting his tough-on-crime law enforcement credentials and his support for 85 percent mandatory minimums for anyone convicted of a crime. But while the presence of uniformed police officers at the event made it appear that they were there to support his approach, many apparently were simply on-duty officers who thought they were there to provide security — in violation of state’s ethics law.
Rick Scott has spent millions on campaign ads already in return for little in the polls. Today the Crist campaign launched his first television ad focusing on his support of the middle class, education, cutting property taxes, minimum wage, and equal pay for women.