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Florida legislators support taxpayer-funded insurance - for themselves

Florida House rejects Senate health insurance expansion plan

By Mary Ellen Klas
Miami Herald, June 4, 2015

The Florida House rejected a Senate bill to expand health insurance coverage to thousands of Floridians on Friday, putting a temporary end to a bitter and divisive legislative fight that saw no winners.

Aided by the threatened veto of Gov. Rick Scott, the GOP-majority House voted 72-41 to kill a long-shot attempt by Senate Republicans to find a way to draw down federal Medicaid money to augment health insurance for as many as 600,000 low-income working Floridians.

“Medicaid is socialized health care insurance,” said Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, saying the Senate plan creates “permanent dependency” on handouts for “able-bodied childless adults” and props up a broken health care system.

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/artic...

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Florida legislators benefit from heavily subsidized health insurance

By Mary Ellen Klas

Tampa Bay Times, June 6, 2015

One of the chief arguments Florida House Republicans made Friday when they rejected the Senate plan to help 600,000 working poor get health insurance is that it would create a taxpayer-funded entitlement and would be hard to repeal.

What they didn't mention during the debate is that they are entitled to a very generous health insurance package that costs $22,000 a year — with premiums mostly covered by Florida taxpayers.

According to financial disclosure statements, 54 legislators are millionaires.

http://www.tampabay.com/news/politics/stateroundup/florida-legislators-b...

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Comment:

By Don McCanne, MD

Who does not believe that absolutely all of us should have the health care that we need when we need it? Well, one obvious group is our elected legislators. Otherwise we would have had a universal national health program many decades ago. What can Florida add to our understanding of this resistance to ensuring universal care?

Florida legislators, many of whom are millionaires, provide themselves with very generous health insurance, paid mostly by the taxpayers. Yet these same legislators refuse to expand Medicaid to cover 600,000 working poor Floridians even though most of the costs would be covered by taxpayers in other states.

Why is this? Is it because they think each individual should be responsible for purchasing their own coverage (even though it is an “entitlement’ for the legislators)? Surely most understand that these low-income workers cannot afford to pay for health insurance. Since the legislators are opposed to mandating employers to provide the insurance, it cannot be that they believe these individuals should purchase their own insurance as that is an impossibility.

Do they really believe that these low-income workers would develop a “permanent dependency” on taxpayer-funded health insurance coverage, while they themselves are immune to a permanent dependency mindset regarding their own taxpayer-funded coverage?

They object to socialized health insurance, yet do they really believe that it is socialized only when it is provided to low-income workers, yet it is not socialized when the government provides them with their own insurance and eventually provides then with Medicare in their retirement years? What is there about social insurance being evil when it is provided to low-income workers, yet being a virtue when it is provided to millionaire legislators?

So what is it about not only Florida legislators but all legislators throughout the nation who have ensured their own health security at taxpayer expense but refuse to ensure comparable health security for each of their own constituents? (The labels that come to mind are too inflammatory to honestly answer that here.)

Does the electorate really approve of this double standard? Or is it time for citizen action?