Dear Republican State Representatives in the Florida House:
Word is, most of you are about to vote “Nay” and kill the Florida Senate’s healthcare bill that would insure hundreds of thousands of uninsured men and women stuck in the “Florida Coverage Gap.”
Those are your fellow conservative Republican legislators who worked their butts off to craft and pass this legislation. They even came back at it three times to make it as conservatively charmed as could be — while still actually trying to solve your problem at hand.
Your problem at hand — as report, after report, after report keeps corroborating — is that leaving hundreds of thousands of men and women uninsured won’t simply symbolize to your conservative constituents how much you oppose Obamacare, federal debt and deficits. It will also cost constituents much more money in hidden healthcare cost-shifting. And, it will rob them of tens of thousands of good new jobs, and statewide economic growth.
I mean, just in case you Naysayers weren’t sure, lots of us Democrats — especially us progressive Democrats — weren’t too happy with the Senate’s solution to our uninsured crisis. Too conservative, too punitive to the very people it’s supposed to be helping.
But almost all of us supported it anyway. Because we understand — as your conservative Republican Senate counterparts do — that there are times when you have to put your own opinions, preferences and personal interests aside. There are times when you have to take whatever little step forward you can, together with those you disagree with … for the greater, common good.
The claim by House leadership that insuring the uninsured would not be a step forward, because it’s financed by federal dollars attached to President Obama and his signature Affordable Care Act? It won’t take much to prove to people how purely political and lacking in commonsense that is. The $5 billion a year we’d get to insure the uninsured will still be spent by the feds if you reject it — but on helping other states solve their uninsured problems.
Talk about “cutting off the nose to spite the face.”
Now, many of us understand that for your supporters back home, that’s A-OK. We get that, for most of those folks, anything boldly oppositional and defiantly resistant to the policies and plans of President Obama and the federal government…works.
But seriously now, does that really mean you have to screw all of them and all the rest of us out of what you know to be the genuine, tangible benefits of insuring the uninsured?
There are plenty of other ways and means to feed your conservative constituents the kind of anti-Obama, anti-government red meat you believe they need to stay hungry for you as their state representative in the Florida Legislature moving forward into 2016.
On this one damned difficult, protractedly dysfunctional and damaging public policy front, why not take one for the team? Why not prove you can put the needs of the many above the needs of the few, and declare your independence from rigid purists like Budget Chair and future Speaker Richard Corcoran?
The reasons to move forward with insuring the uninsured — rather than stitching together some Frankenstein monster of a way for the middle class to overpay for their untreated, end-stage emergency room care, as you seem ready to do — are all right there in black and white, in a new report just issued by the White House. It’s called, “Missed Opportunities.”
You won’t lose many votes by doing not only the right, but the smart thing.
Don’t miss another opportunity.
Daniel Tilson has a Boca Raton-based communications firm called Full Cup Media, specializing in online video and written content for nonprofits, political candidates and organizations, and small businesses. Column courtesy of Context Florida.