So, as anyone who knows Gov. Moon Lizard knows, the man was once in charge of the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country. That ended badly. But that doesn’t mean the governor is now a foe of the health-care industry he once had to leave in disgrace. Indeed, he was right back onboard the health-care gravy train when he co-founded the Solantic chain of health clinics in 2001. And of course, his first major foray into politics was as the founder of Conservatives for Patients Rights, a group specifically created to target Democratic health-care plans. So, Gov. Scott has always been on the side of the health-care industry.
Now, along with governors in Louisiana, Iowa, and Wisconsin (Bobby Jindal, Terry Branstad, and Scott Walker, respectively), Scott has said he will implement none of the Affordable Care Act in the state, regardless of the fact that the law was deemed constitutional by the Supreme Court. The two main points that the states need to worry about are an expansion of Medicaid roles (for which the states will receive federal funding) and the creation of health-care exchanges for individual buyers. On point number one, the Supreme Court found that the federal government could not threaten the removal of all Medicaid dollars if a state refused to cooperate, thus making the Medicaid expansion optional. On point two, the law specifically states that if a state does not create an exchange, the federal government will step in and do it for them. So, just do nothing, right? Screw the people. Scott maintains that the Medicaid expansion would cost almost $2 billion. He is wrong. Indeed, the expansion would eventually cost the state no more than half of that, and even that price tag wouldn’t come in full for a decade.
But in the meantime, without that Medicaid expansion, hospitals that have to treat poor people who come to the emergency room without insurance will continue to take it on the chin. Hospitals were stuck with almost $40 billion in unpaid bills in 2010, and without the expansion of Medicaid, plus the Affordable Care Act’s shrinkage of current Medicare and Medicaid payments, these hospitals face a serious financial downturn. Under the Affordable Care Act, and without the law’s Medicaid expansion, that $40 billion loss will seem like bus fare. And so, we have come to the unlikely scenario in which Gov. Scott is actually screwing the hospital industry. Is there anyone this man can’t piss off?
The difference this time is that Scott isn’t just putting the screws to the underclass. The poor and marginalized of Florida have never had a reason to like the governor. But this time, it’s one of Scott’s biggest supporters, the health-care industry that stands to take it on the nose due to his ignorant intransigence.