Sunday, April 26, 2015

Our digest of, and commentary on today's Florida political news and punditry.

"Absurdity on steroids"

"The legislative fight continuing into the session’s final week is over a fund known as the low income pool, or $2 billion in federal money used to reimburse hospitals for care they provide to those who can’t pay. This year, federal officials have said they will not provide the money unless Florida expands Medicaid under Obamacare."

"The Obama administration is using similar tactics in Texas, Tennessee and Kansas, threatening to withhold the indigent care money unless those states get on board with expanding Medicaid, part of the president’s plan to provide health care coverage to more people. The Florida Senate supports the idea, but House Republicans and Gov. Rick Scott oppose it." "Health care money divides Legislature." See also "House and Senate Far Apart on Budget as Health Care For Poor Becomes Bargaining Chip."

Scott Maxwell explains that "last week, absurdity went on steroids when Republicans realized that all their screaming about how they don't want no stinkin' federal money might end up with them getting their wish."

This was something they never really expected.

Yes, they want to rant about Obamacare. But they also wanted to keep sucking up federal health-care dollars.

So when the feds finally said: Fine, if you don't want our health dollars, we won't give you our health dollars, they flipped out.

"Gov. Rick Scott vowed to sue. Suddenly, he was no longer ranting about federal health-care money ... he was desperate for it."
House Republicans weren't sure what to do. So they staged a secret meeting where they passed out talking points for members to parrot. This way, if a pesky constituent asked why they were making such a mess, they could respond with prattle like: "We will continue to listen to new ideas . . ."

But House Republicans simply cannot get past the fact that this is "Obamacare" money. So they want to refuse insurance for others — even while enjoying taxpayer-subsidized plans of their own.

And now things are getting even messier.

See, the federal June 30 deadline for accepting Medicaid money is approaching. And if Florida doesn't take it, we'll also lose existing federal money that subsidizes hospitals around the state — more than $1 billion a year.

Much more here: "Secret meetings, threats, lawsuits — a Florida meltdown."

"Term limits have shown limited success"

"Term limits, popular among Florida voters, have shown limited success in breaking the cycle of career politicians. Nowhere is that clearer than in Hillsborough County, where one county commissioner is giving some thought to a first-of-its-kind move that could lengthen his total time in office to 20 years." "Hillsborough commissioners exploiting term limits loophole."

"Political pensions"

As folks whine about first responder pensions, perhaps they should consider the"legacy of Miami’s political pensions."

"Unclear why state leaders continued course of inaction for so long"

"There is no arguing, however, that the delay [in resolving the health care funding issue] is holding hostage the fate of health care for hundreds of thousands of working poor Floridians. They make too much money for traditional Medicaid but not enough to take advantage of tax credits under the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 federal health care law championed by President Barack Obama. The stalemate is rooted in ideology."

"The federal government is eager to have states implement provisions under the Affordable Care Act, but the state House and Gov. Rick Scott are resisting what he calls this 'Sopranos'-like coercion. The state Senate, meanwhile, is on board with expanding access to Medicaid. Still unclear is why state leaders continued this course of inaction for so long, knowing as they did that the feds had promised to reduce their contribution to the state’s coffers." "Documents: Many players contribute to standoff on Medicaid expansion."

State Elections Office Tosses Cases Against Flagler Commissioners

"Specious and Speculative: State Elections Office Tosses Out Kim Weeks Cases Against 3 Flagler Commissioners."

"Trying to save the state from Scott's failures"

The Sun Sentinel editors: "Gov. Rick Scott went to war last week — on the wrong side."

The governor should have been strong-arming House leaders, demanding that they expand health care coverage to nearly 1 million Floridians. Instead, Scott was threatening members of the Senate, which wants more Floridians to have insurance and is trying to save the state from Scott's failures.
"Scott on wrong side on health care."