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Mark O’Brien: Florida is a Medicaid Santa — for other states

You have to admire the profile in courage that Florida Republicans are setting.

Florida is standing up to all those whiny kids, pregnant women and disabled people and rejecting $51 billion in extra Medicaid funding over the next 10 years.

“We don’t need no stinkin’ $5 billion a year for health care,” say the Republicans.

They’re taking a stand for a principle. Because they think entitlement programs are flawed, they want nothing to do with more funding for Medicaid, even if it’s paid by federal dollars and even if it helps families of four with income of less than $33,000 a year.

Considering their opposition to flawed entitlement programs, I’m sure the Republicans will soon take a strong stand against Gov. Rick Scott’s troubled plan to court businesses with tax breaks and other goodies for jobs that seldom materialize.

Meanwhile, the Republicans won’t pander to the needy 800,000 Floridians who are too poor to qualify for subsidized insurance under the federal law, yet can’t qualify for Medicaid.

You know who does qualify for Medicaid? Many of the people who make peanuts working for fast-food restaurants and chain stores that reap huge profits since they feel no obligation to help their employees with medical bills and health care.

Economics Republican style: I’d rather save a nickel on a Big Mac than accept billions from Uncle Sam for health care.

Yes, the Republicans are standing firm, and that’s admirable because Florida already has one of the nation’s stingiest Medicaid programs, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

As the Times noted, the Affordable Care Act calls for covering all low-income Americans through Medicaid, but the U.S. Supreme Court gave states the option to decline.

Florida was one of the brave minority to spurn Medicaid money. Florida and 19 other states said no to the offer, which would have been 100 percent paid by federal funds until 2016, and then drop all the way to… 90 percent in 2020, and stay at 90 percent.

Now you might think this is a good deal, especially since the added Medicaid money would have averted layoffs at some Florida hospitals and encouraged other health care facilities to expand, but that’s not the way that Obamacare-hating Republicans feel. They lost the vote and everyone must suffer!

Er, I mean, Republicans are holding to a principle, refusing to participate in a flawed program, and don’t try to confuse them by pointing out that taxes paid by Floridians will help support expanded Medicaid programs in the 30 states that said, “Hey, that’s a good deal.”

You see, the money that pays for Medicaid comes from all U.S. taxpayers, whether their state participates or not.

A recent Commonwealth Fund study says Florida residents will pay an estimated $5 billion to pay for expansion of Medicaid programs in states not named Florida.

Florida is providing a Merry Christmas to 30 states. Too bad low-income kids and disabled people in Florida don’t benefit.

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