Sticking by their mistake

February 22, 2013 

Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a rock-ribbed, hard-core conservative in what’s lately been the Sunshine State’s tradition, anyway, has been attacking President Obama’s health care reform plan throughout his political career. But he’s now reversed course on an offer under “Obamacare” for federal expansion of Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. The federal government will pay all costs in the first three years, and most of it thereafter.

Scott resisted initially, which is the position of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, both Republicans. But in changing his mind, Scott said that while he still believed there were ways to deliver health care preferable to President Obama’s plan, he saw that it was “the law of the land.” He’s taking the first three years and will wait-and-see in terms of expense to the state thereafter.

Medicaid expansion was sadly, and potentially tragically, passed up by North Carolina’s Republican-run General Assembly solely on ideology. Their distrust of the federal government is so imbedded in their political philosophy that lawmakers actually rejected something that might have gotten reliable health care for hundreds of thousands of constituents in a state that still has a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and all the side effects that go with it. Those side effects include, of course, an absence or loss of employer-based health care.

Chapel Hill Rep. Verla Insko, a Democrat, actually proposed to her GOP colleagues that they go ahead and take the first three years of all-expense-paid expansion and then see what it might cost after that. They summarily rejected her. It’s not the first time ideology trumped compassion.

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