Some members of the Florida media are beginning to act irresponsibly – no, recklessly – when discussing the issue of Medicaid expansion. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel editorial board wrote an opinion piece today titled “Dancing on graves of poor people” and the Miami Herald ran a story claiming “850,000 people stuck in coverage gap – and no solution in sight.” Their biases couldn’t be more apparent.
First, let’s get things straight. One-third of Florida’s budget is fully devoted to Medicaid. One out of every three dollars our state government spends goes to one government program: Medicaid. That means everything else our state spends money on (education, criminal justice, transportation, etc) gets squeezed out of the budget.
It is apparent that government is already too involved in health care, making it more expensive, inefficient, and poor quality. Proponents of Medicaid expansion (which now clearly include the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald) want to expand a program that isn’t working.
It is a great tragedy that so many of our fellow Floridians can’t afford health insurance. However, if we keep expanding Medicaid (a short-term solution), the costs of health care for them and everyone else will only get more expensive in the long run.
The solution: we need to get both corporations (big insurance companies and big hospitals) and big government out of the way of the relationship between doctors and patients. When you continue to create a bigger wedge between the doctor and the patient, you get lower quality health care and higher costs. That’s what’s happened since Medicare and Medicaid went into affect in the 1960s. And it’s gotten worse since the “Affordable” Care Act (aka ObamaCare) was passed in 2010.
But look around: who were some of the biggest proponents and beneficiaries of ObamaCare? Big insurance companies and corporate hospitals. Who were the biggest losers: we the people. All of us. We’re spending more and getting less. With ObamaCare, we have less options, higher premiums, and we still don’t have more people insured (despite the fact the so-called “Affordable” Care Act has made it illegal not to be!) Day by day, Americans of all political persuasions are becoming more and more frustrated by the thousands of pages of regulations most of our representatives were not able to read because they passed it so fast.
And now the Florida media is teaming up with big hospitals, big insurance companies, and big government to try to sell us another lemon? This is a concerted “campaign” to try to put pressure on lawmakers during the last few weeks of the 60-day legislative session – one that may end up going into overtime or special session.
Rather than writing these kind of stories, perhaps the Florida media should take a look at members of the Florida Senate and who they have worked for and where their campaign contributions are coming from. One example is Senate President, Andy Gardiner. He has worked for Orlando Health, representing hospitals in that area. They clearly serve to benefit in the short term should Medicaid expansion succeed here in Florida. And he’s the one pushing Medicaid expansion perhaps stronger than anyone else. He may or may not have a conflict of interest, but if he’s pushing to get more Floridians hooked on second-rate government health insurance, then his vision for the future of Florida is muddy at best.
A better plan was proposed by then House Speaker Will Weatherford in the 2013 session, but the Florida Senate refused to take a vote on it. That plan would have helped our fellow Floridians who could not afford health insurance get covered – without further tying us to the federal government’s yoke. Perhaps it’s time for us to revisit that plan. We need to move in the direction of empowering Floridians to find better health care and stop becoming dependent on an increasingly bloated and inefficient federal government that only serves the interests of big corporations. And the Florida media should stop cooperating in selling us a bag of lemons.