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Opinion

FL's Officials Don't Care About Poor

(Editor's note: This Letter to the Editor first appeared in the Citrus County Chronicle; its author has asked that it also be published in Health News Florida.)

Florida Gov. Rick Scott continues to lead this state in its rush to abandon the poor. It’s outrageous that Gov. Scott and his Republican supporters are joining other Republican state governors in refusing to provide coverage to low-income adults, even though the Affordable Care Act authorizes the federal government to pay most of the cost of this expansion in the Medicaid program.
 
While Florida has a very high percentage of its citizens uninsured, and an even larger number under-insured, the disconnect between this public need and the political/social will to change things is sharp. Republican obstructionism promotes inaction of the electorate, who in Florida suffer from a combination of being uninformed or misinformed and unable to advocate effectively for policies that would benefit all.
 
It is this very toxic combination that led to the election of Rick Scott. Everyone recalls that Gov. Scott is a billionaire businessman who formerly was the infamous CEO of Columbia/HCA. Columbia/HCA was fined $1.7 billion for falsified patient billing and giving kickbacks to doctors, perpetrating the largest Medicare fraud in the entire history of the Medicare program. During the investigation, Scott testified that he was “unaware” of all this while CEO.
 
The 1 percent remain comfortable, even while Florida’s most needy citizens are being left out.
 
F. Douglas Stephenson, LCSW, BCD (board-certified diplomate in clinical social work)