Florida Republicans decide they hate poor people more than they love tax cuts.
Here's a conundrum for today's Florida Republicans: You love tax cuts and hospital corporations while hating education and poor people.
You're all set to slash taxes (again) while also giving hospitals $1.3 billion from the federal government to reimburse them for losses they incur from treating poor people who can't afford to pay their bills.
At the same time, you're kind of a huge jerk, so you refused to expand Medicaid to over 800,000 of your residents, even though you won't have to pay a dime for the first 3 years, a few percent for the next few years and no more than 10% of the cost after that.
The Supreme Court rules that you don't have to do so, so you get to spend a couple of years laughing in the face of 800K low-income people while simultaneously rubbing the Obama Administration's nose in your ass-jackery.
Finally, the HHS Dept. decides to fight back by threatening to pull that $1.3B away from your hospitals unless you play ball.
Suddenly, you're in a bind. If you cave, then terrible things will happen: 800,000 people will receive decent healthcare coverage and you'll be found guilty by your fellow Republicans of having a soul. The Horror! Can't have THAT happen!!
However, if you don't cave, your entire hospital system will be in deep finanical trouble, which is especially problematic for a state where 18% of the population is over 65 (being covered by Medicare doesn't do much for you if there aren't any hospitals left to treat you).
So, what's the FL GOP to do?
Well, Plan A is to simply sue the federal government, their argument being that they don't want the Feds to give them this money to take care of poor people but they do want the Feds to give them that money to take care of poor people. Or something.
However, since that's likely to take a long time and probably won't work, they've come up with a Plan B as well:
TALLAHASSEE -- In a last-ditch effort to end the budget stalemate, House Speaker Steve Crisafulli on Thursday offered to set aside $200 million in state money for the hospitals and county health departments that would be hurt by the end of a federal-state program known as the Low Income Pool.
It doesn’t back down from the House’s position, now 3 years old, to not expand Medicaid.
The House offer of extra money, which would come from reducing proposed tax cuts and spending on K-12 education, could be used to draw down an additional $305 million in federal funds, Crisafulli said, meaning about $505 million would help hospitals shoulder the cost of treating uninsured, under-insured and Medicaid patients.
Brilliant! This plan solves all of the FL GOP's problems at once!
- Public schools get shafted yet again
- 800K people continue to get shafted
- hospitals get about 39% of the money they're gonna lose (better than nothing from the GOP's POV, I suppose...)
- they get to continue to be obstinate jackasses to the HHS Dept.
Bravo. Well played.