Not long after the Affordable Care Act was signed into law early in President Barack Obama’s first term, a coalition of 26 Republican governors filed a lawsuit that claimed the president’s health-care reform was unconstitutional. But after the Supreme Court ruled that Obamacare was not unconstitutional, and after the president’s re-election, more of those same governors have been quietly breaking ranks and accepting government funding for their states.
This week, Rick Scott was the latest to do so, says a report in Newsmax, and now he will expand Medicaid coverage to almost 900,000 people in Florida under Obama’s health-care law, although he said last year that he wanted nothing to do with the program and would not participate.
The Hill quotes Scott from a 2012 Fox News interview: "This [Obamacare] would be devastating ... this is an expansion that just doesn't make any sense."
Nonetheless, Scott joined the ranks of Gov. Jan Brewer, a Tea Party darling and ardent Obama critic, who loudly supported reversing his healthcare plan and has recently done an about-face. She also signed on to the Medicaid funding provision for Arizona. Other Republican defectors include Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, along with GOP governors in Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota and Nevada.
The fact that people in those states will greatly benefit from the actions of their governors was not seen as a positive thing by everyone, including the state chapter of Americans for Prosperity.
“Gov. Scott’s announcement today is extremely disappointing,” Slade O’Brien, director of the Florida operation of Americans for Prosperity, said in a statement. “Gov. Scott had been a national leader in the fight against President Obama’s healthcare takeover.
But Judy Waxman of the National Women’s Law Center explained that Scott’s reversal on Obamacare will also help up to 613,000 Florida women with better Medicaid healthcare including the expansion of preventative screenings, mammograms and care for chronic conditions.
Most health-care experts believe the fundamentals of Obamacare are seen as a move toward a system that focuses on keeping people healthy, rather than a system that diagnoses and treats the sick.
“People's heads are probably exploding at Tea Party headquarters across the country—and that’s because we may have just witnessed a crucial turning point in the Republican’s hyper-partisan opposition to the Affordable Care Act,” Ethan Rome, executive director of Health Care for America Now.
This move is seen by Tea Party critics as another nail in their coffin as the relevance of extremist voices in Congress continues to lose credibility and public support.
Scott defended his actions by saying that in good conscience he couldn’t deny the uninsured access to care under the government funding plan.
However, political analysts wonder if Scott’s benevolent move is more about politics than any sincere empathy for Medicaid patients. His decline in popularity signals a tough re-election battle coming up in 2014.
Jean Williams, environmental and political journalist; PrairieDogPress writer; Artistic Director, Keystone Prairie Dogs.***PrairieDogPress is the media channel for keystone-prairie-dogs.com, which is a fundraising website to support environmental groups for extraordinary efforts to protect Great Plains habitat and prairie dogs in the wild. PDP uses humorous images, social commentary and serious-minded political reports to challenge government on numerous levels, including accountability to the people, the protection of threatened species, the environment and Earth’s natural resources.