John Thrasher is wrong to believe will be “no fallout” if Legislature adjourns without Medicaid plan

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Mary Ellen Klas reports that Florida lawmakers are sending signals that they are likely to end the session without resolving the issue of whether the state should accept federal Medicaid money to insure the poorest in Florida.

“It’s not something you put together in a week,’’ said Sen. John Thrasher, chairman of the Senate Rules Committee and a close advisor to Senate President Don Gaetz. “It’s a very big, complicated issue and these issues take some time.”

Thrasher then went on to say there would be “no fallout” if lawmakers fail to craft a plan that draws down the federal money.

Sorry, Senator Thrasher, you’re very wrong.

First of all, as Klas notes, business groups, the Florida Hospital Association and the union that represents health care workers will work to put pressure on lawmakers to resolve the issue before next year. 

Second, doing nothing will create a deafening silence that will drown out any other positive message coming out of the legislative session. Raises for teachers … tax cuts for manufacturing … none of those kind of issues will resonate like the Legislature’s failure to cover one million Floridians who could be eligible for coverage.

Third, and most important, if the Florida Legislature does not give Rick Scott a win — any kind of win — on this issue, Charlie Crist/Bill Nelson/Alex Sink is going to cram it down his throat throughout the rest of 2013 and in to 2014.

Think the outcry over Scott’s decision to cancel funding for high speed rail was loud? Wait until you see what happens if Medicaid is not expanded.

No fallout, Senator Thrasher? I think you mean to say the fallout will be radioactive. 

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.