Unsatisfied with their embarrassingly callous performances as governors of their respective states, some of the GOP’s cruelest politicians have decided to ratchet up their psychopath game to the level of voluntarily endangering the lives of the very taxpayers who employ them and dole out their salaries. This time, they’ve decided to make an ideological stand (at least on the face of it), at the expense of the health of millions of their constituents. While their right-wing ideology itself serves as a proxy for corporate interests, we should really pause to reflect on what Republican governors are sacrificing to boycott any provision they can in the health care overhaul.
The full mandate is set to take effect in 2014, but, thanks to the nuances of the recent Supreme Court ruling, it’s up to individual states to set up the health care exchanges. The recent Supreme Court ruling also left it up to individual states themselves to decide another key provision of the big new changes in the health care reform package: whether to extend their Medicaid coverage to those with incomes of 133% of the federal poverty level. The 2012 poverty level for a family of four is $23,050 as of 2012, meaning the extension in Medicaid coverage would cover families earning up to $30,657.
Yet again we see how profit and ideology matter more to right-wingers than the basic urge to relieve human suffering. In Florida, Governor Rick Scott (not to be confused with his less evil twin) has vowed to continue fighting health care reform, planning on using his state-level discretion to refuse to expand the Medicaid rolls to the new level. What makes this an especially ugly barter of ideology-for-health is that per-capita, Florida is the second least health insured state in the country. As explained by Jeffrey Young at HuffPo
“Florida won’t take part in the Medicaid expansion, Scott said in a statement Sunday, despite the fact that 25 percent of the state’s residents younger than 65 are uninsured, the second-highest rate in the U.S. That was 3.9 million people in 2010, based on data compiled by the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. According to the Urban Institute, 1.8 million Floridians would would qualify for Medicaid benefits under health care reform starting in 2014.”
This means that Florida Governor Rick Scott would rather risk the health of 1.8 million people (a number ten times higher than the population of Tallahassee, the state’s capital) then allow health care reform to have any more legitimacy than it already has. This is a terrible and inhumane trade-off to be making for any ideology.
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