Obamacare expansion in Florida affects us all


When Gov. Rick Scott held a press conference on Wednesday to announce that he wants Florida to participate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, known as “Obamacare,” my heart skipped a beat.

Scott, who is running for re-election in 2014, needs this to improve his image with voters. The magnitude of that announcement was huge and the implications for everybody are tremendous.      

For those who do not have health insurance, this allows you to see the doctor and have regular checkups without having to worry about co-payments and suffering in silence while you have medical ailments.

These problems can affect a student’s ability to focus in class, socialize and function. Plus, we do not have the funds to dish out for new patient fees and doctor visits. It can get quite expensive just to stay healthy.               

Notably, in Florida, which is one of the hardest and stingiest states to receive Medicaid benefits, you must be blind, pregnant, disabled or handicapped to receive assistance. And Medicare is only for senior citizens.                

Scott made it his mission to rally his fellow Republican governors to have Obamacare overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, claiming that it was unconstitutional. But in 2012, the Supreme Court disagreed and ruled to uphold the law as constitutional. The Supreme Court included in its ruling that the federal government could not force states to participate in Medicaid programs but that it was voluntary.

The ball was in Scott’s hands on how he was going to proceed after being defeated by the Supreme Court, but he still had the opportunity to deny Floridians the benefit of Obamacare. With the desire to stay in office, Scott is flip-flopping on his position in an attempt to procure more votes.              

Scott mentioned that his mom’s death influenced his decision to want Florida to partake in Obamacare, but there is a catch. He hinged his decision on a proposition to the Obama administration that if he agrees to allow Florida to partake in Obamacare, he gets to privatize management of Medicaid and Medicare.

Scott claims that funding is putting a strain on the state budget. However, President Barack Obama’s administration explicitly said in December that if states participate in Obamacare, they must expand fully to receive full funding. Florida cannot deny people the opportunity to get Medicaid like in the past, but Scott got his wish of privatizing Medicaid.                

This means neither I nor anybody else will go bankrupt from going to the doctor, emergency room or the urgent care when they’re sick.