Let Us Now Praise Skeletor for He Has Made Florida Suck a Little Less:
Look, Republican Florida Governor Rick Scott, who looks like what you see before Death sucks your soul out, is an opportunist, possibly a swindler and a fraud enabler, and the dickhead he looks like when it comes to things like voting rights, drug tests, and more. And there's no doubt that he is scared shitless about reelection in 2014 when the waning power of the Tea Party won't propel him back into office.
But you gotta calls 'em as you sees 'em in this polarized nation, and Scott's statement on why he's accepting federal funds to expand Florida's Medicaid rolls over the next three years is deserving of (mostly) praise. Read the whole thing. Scott makes a convincing case that, perhaps, and with great and necessary suspicion, one can say he's changed a bit.
Scott says that losing his mother a few months back gave him some new perspective, especially when it came to Medicaid funding. He goes on, "As I wrestled with this decision, I thought about my Mom’s struggles raising five kids with very little money. I remember my Mom’s heartbreak when she could not afford to give my younger brother the treatment he needed when we learned he had a hip disease. She eventually found him a Shriner’s Children’s Hospital hundreds of miles away…where my brother would go back and forth for treatment. My Mom was a proud, strong woman who wanted to make it on her own without help. But how would she have felt if she knew she was denied help that she was already paying for? It was my Mom – the wife of a WWII veteran - who taught me something I still believe today: this country is the greatest in the world. America’s greatness is largely because of how we value the weakest among us. Quality healthcare services must be accessible and affordable for all – not just those in certain zip codes or tax brackets. No mother, or father, should despair over whether or not they can afford – or access – the healthcare their child needs."
Is that not stunning? It's not a grudging "well, fuck, may as well." It's a full-throated defense of using government funding to give health care to the poor, to say that it's an imperative to do so. And if a politician invokes his recently deceased mother, he's either, if he's being honest, having a moment of great self-reflection or, if he's bullshitting, the most cynical son-of-a-bitch in the state. Taken out of the context of who is making the statement, those are the kinds of socialist-sounding words that, if spoken by a liberal, would be called "class warfare" by people like Rick Scott, which is what makes it all the more remarkable.
Scott also laid out the logic behind his decision: "[R]egardless of what I – or anyone else - believes, a Supreme Court decision and a presidential election made the President’s healthcare mandates the law of the land." You got that, GOP? Elections matter, Scott says. Would that John Boehner and Mitch McConnell believed that (or perhaps they will in 2014). And then there's a simple economic proposition: "To be clear - our options are either having Floridians pay to fund this program in other states while denying healthcare to our citizens – or – using federal funding to help some of the poorest in our state with the Medicaid program as we explore other healthcare reforms." Do you want a slice of the federal pie you helped bake that's going to be eaten anyways?
Look, it ain't perfect. Scott's not going set up the insurance exchanges, although that just means the federal government will do it. He repeatedly says that he ain't no-how for guv'mint-run health care. And it's only for 3 years and then we'll see what happens. But he concludes partly by saying, "I don’t want any parent to worry, like my Mom did, that they might not be able to help their sick child. Expanding access to Medicaid services for three years is a compassionate, common sense step forward."
And to everyone who says that Scott is just engaged in pre-election year bribery, the governor is now enduring a bitch slapping from conservatives. Erick "Erick" Erickson at the right-wing bidet, Red State, writes, "I am terribly disappointed in his decision to expand Medicaid in Florida." Similar things were said by similar assholes in a mostly similar way.
One or two good policy decisions does not make up for a couple of years of fuckery. But when someone does something unexpectedly right, especially when doing so makes him something of an apostate, it deserves notice.