In 2010, the Tea Party propelled Rick Scott to the Governor’s chair in Florida using their opposition to the Affordable Care Act as a battle cry. Fast forward three years later and in a stunning reversal Governor Rick Scott now supports expanding Medicaid in his state through Obamacare. And the Tea Party isn’t happy about it.
“Scott said yesterday in Tallahassee that he’ll ask state lawmakers to back the expansion. After the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the law in June, Scott said he wouldn’t expand Medicaid, the health-care program for the poor, in Florida. Once Obama won re-election in November, Scott said he was open to it.”
Scott wants the expansion for three years just to see how it works. Bloomberg reports that Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured research group estimated last November that such an expansion would cover more than 1.28 million people over the next decade which will be a huge relief to those who are in desperate need of health care. But health care isn’t the only thing expanding Medicaid would improve. It would also improve the economy and the unemployment rate. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “the infusion of federal money in the state would create 71,300 jobs and $8.9 billion in economic activity.” Jobs and health care are two things people really need right now, and if the state legislature agrees with Scott, Floridians can expect both in the near future.
One group however, isn’t thrilled with Scott’s change of heart. According to Bloomberg, “In the minutes before Scott’s announcement, Tea Party organizers urged activists to call and e-mail the governor’s office asking him to oppose expanding Medicaid. “He’s worried about his re-election,” Slade O’Brien, Florida director for the Arlington, Virginia-based American’s for Prosperity, said by e-mail. “We can’t let Governor Scott put personal political ambition ahead of principled conservatism and what’s right for Florida taxpayers.”” In other words, the Tea Party hates compassion and doesn’t care about the people of Florida. They don’t give a damn about the economy or jobs or getting people the medical care they need. And with any luck, the Tea Party’s lack of a conscience will backfire on them in 2014.
While Rick Scott hasn’t been a blessing for Floridians over the last three years, at least he appears to be doing one thing right at the moment. And that one bright moment of compassion for the people he governs is driving the Tea Party crazy. From the sound of their fury the Tea Party could end up retaliating against Scott by running a primary candidate against him in 2014. If that were to occur, there would be a split in the Florida GOP which could open the door even wider for a Democrat or an Independent candidate like former Florida Governor Charlie Crist who intends to compete for the office next year. Expanding health care, adding more jobs, AND getting rid of Scott and the Tea Party? Sounds like a fantastic plan to me.