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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

   Is The Governor’s New Commission on Health Credible and Honest?


Roger Caldwell
Roger Caldwell
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As the dysfunctional Florida Legislature prepares for its special session, the Republicans are praising Governor Scott. Many of the Senate Republicans, who were calling our governor derogatory names has changed their characterization of him. They are now addressing the governor as the leader of the party, and he can make a major difference in the stalemate.

“He is the leader of our party, and has a big role to play. It is no secret the relationship between the governor and Senate was a bit rocky during the session, but it’s time to turn the page,” says Sen. Rob Bradley, R-Flemming Island. I hope this means that the two parties are talking to each other, and the governor is not taking sides with the Speaker of the House, and the House of Representatives.

At the present time, there is a major billion-dollar fight on health care spending in Florida, and the Senate wants to expand Medicaid into the state. The governor and the House are against expanding Medicaid, even though the residents of the state are paying taxes to the federal government for the program. Our lawmakers in the House and our governor is letting 1 million Floridians suffer, instead of extra federal money going directly to local health care providers, hospitals, physicians, and helping the overall state economy.

Last week, Governor Scot announced a new commission to investigate the flow of taxpayer dollars spent by hospitals and the health care industry in the state. When our political leaders are criticized for doing very little, they put together a commission to study the problem. The head of Scott’s commission is Carlos Beruff, a homebuilder and campaign donor, who gave $80,000 to Scott’s re-election campaign.

It appears that eight of the nine members on the commission are not involved or engaged in the health care industry, but was chosen by Scott to arrive at a decision about healthcare. Now all of the Republicans are praising Scott for getting engaged in the health care issue, and acting as a peace broker between the House and Senate. As the two Houses get ready for the special session, no one is making statements that show compromise and collaboration.

Recently, Governor Scott tried to initiate a proposal where the hospitals in Florida would share their profits with each other. He also is considering approving a tax increase on inpatient and outpatient care, to cover the loss of the Low-Income Pool (LIP).

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Hospital executives from around the state signed a letter that stated; “You have suggested that a new tax on hospital operating surpluses be a way to sustain the existing LIP program. Such an arrangement is not a solution to the challenge we face,” the letter to Scott reads.

The only way that our governor is going to resolve the healthcare spending in the State of Florida is that he accepts the expansion of Medicaid in the state. The residents are being taxed by the federal government, and we are losing out on the benefits. The state is losing billions of federal dollars each year, which a state governor’s commission cannot fix.

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