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Medicaid expansion left behind, but even Tampa Trib still calling for GOP change of heart

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The Florida House abandoned its session earlier this year. In doing so, they left the question of Medicaid expansion on the table. Then in a special session they rejected a Senate plan to draw down $51 billion in federal dollars to expand health care to more than 800,000 poor Floridians.

Gov. Rick Scott agreed with the House’s decision.

There’s not much that can be done between now and the 2016 legislative session, but that didn’t stop the conservative Tampa Tribune editorial board from issuing “words of wisdom” based on those of Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich took the money.

The Trib points out he did so not just because he believes it will attract businesses to the state, but because it’s the right thing to do. The editorial points to an interview on Face the Nation in which Kasich angered conservatives by saying he wasn’t going to be judged at the pearly gates based on whether or not he protected small government, but rather what he did to help the poor.

When even the historically conservative-leaning Tribune sends a message that you’re doing a fantastic job of NOT helping the poor, it’s a pretty big indication you’re doing it wrong.

The Trib editorial even defends the GOP defense that Medicaid expansion is an extension of harmful entitlement programs that keep the poor addicted to being poor.

“Programs aimed at helping the poor too often do more harm than good, creating a culture of dependency that prevents individuals from fulfilling their potential. Welfare is a case in point,” the Wednesday editorial reads.

But even they recognize the Senate plan to expand Medicaid would not have been a viable crutch for people looking to milk the system.

The plan contained numerous safeguards against people taking Medicaid and continuing to revel in unemployment. Recipients had to demonstrate they were, in fact, looking for work or taking some other demonstrable steps to improving their financial situation.

The plan also would not have even expanded Medicaid. It would have provided subsidies for those who would have qualified to purchase private insurance through the healthcare exchange established under the Affordable Care Act.

Oh, wait, what’s the other name people use for it? Right, Obamacare. And anything attached to Obama must be the downright devil.

The Trib, through Kasich, points out “there is a big difference from making it easier for people not to work to helping the disadvantaged, particularly the working poor, receive proper medical care.”

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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