My friend Ryan is a great example of the Republican voter who is fiscally conservative but socially moderate. He is a smart, former federal prosecutor who loves the Wall Street Journal and believes the “market” has an inviolate wisdom that should be respected and even revered.
But while he sometimes pokes fun at liberals, he has a pronounced libertarian streak that supports keeping government a good distance from private conduct.
Ryan called me the other day.
“Just wanted you to know, I’m in the club.”
He then explained to me that prior to the Affordable Care Act being enacted, because of the hype he had heard, he bought his young family a high deductible insurance policy so he would not be subject to any Affordable Care Act penalties. The policy did little to help him avoid high health care costs.
But when he checked the plans available during the enrolment period he immediately enrolled in an ACA plan that he described as “the smartest and best purchase he ever made.” (other than a pair of mallards he discovered at a local yard sale)
“Man, was I wrong about Obamacare” he confessed.
The Republican hate machine has been demonizing the Affordable Care Act since it was conceived even though the notion that people ought to be responsible for themselves is utterly consistent with purportedly bedrock Republican principles.
They tried to scare folks with talk of death panels. Or tell seniors they would lose their health care. Or that jobs would be lost as larger companies were asked to provide affordable health care plans.
None of that happened and as of today, one million Floridians have signed up.
People like my office aide, who is a 21 year old who was uninsured until the ACA allowed her to be included in her parent’s health care policy.
Or Maria, the mother of our office manager. A perceived lump in her breast years earlier had made her nearly impossible to insure unless she paid over $800 a month. Her new plan is less than half that price and has better copays and deductibles.
Yes, one million Floridians now have insurance. Thousands of children won’t have to wait until they are so sick they qualify for E.R. visits. 530,000 women will feel more secure having regular screenings to detect and prevent serious diseases.
In a state like Florida where nearly one out of four residents lacked health insurance, the ACA has been a boon.
And for everyone else who had insurance it’s pretty good too. One million Floridians will be paying for their own health care costs without shifting that financial burden to homeowners whose tax dollars usually pay for caring for the uninsured.
Still, Florida Governor Rick Scott is reportedly spending $100 million to tether his opponent, Charlie Crist, to the Affordable Care Act. After all it was Scott who rode the Tea Party wave into office, demonizing the ACA and repeating the tired old lies that on a daily basis are discredited. He’s already spent $20 million, much of it repeating those lies.
Crist, to his great credit, however, embraces the plan because it provides so many Floridians access to something as vital as health care.
But now that there is zero evidence that Florida is losing jobs due to the ACA and with one million Floridians signed up and enjoying its benefits, I wonder what Rick Scott is going to say?
What is Rick Scott going to tell one million Floridians?