Right-wing Republicans In Florida Threaten To Nullify Any Health Care Reform Congress Passes That Helps The Needy
The extremists from the Marco Rubio faction of the Florida GOP have the perfect solution to health care reform: they've proposed a constitutional amendment banning federal health care. Think Progress broke the bizarre story last night. Two of the worst right-wing fanatics in the state legislature, Senator Carey Baker (Eustis) and Representative Scott Plakon (Longwood), filed HJR 37, a whacked-out proposal that somehow forgot to mention that President Obama was born in Mombassa, Jakarta and Mexico, but that does seek to prevent planned Federal health care reform legislation from affecting Floridians.
Baker, who's an underdog in the GOP primary for State Agriculture Commissioner against Adam "Howdy Doody" Putnam is a leader of the Florida secessionists and a self-styled tea-bagger. The bill calls on all Floridians to provide for their own health care "to preserve the freedom of all residents of the state." Baker receives health care benefits under the US Veteran’s Administration, funded by federal tax dollars, and participates in Florida's health insurance plan whose premiums are subsidized by state taxpayer funds. He's widely considered to be an off-the-wall crackpot, a product of too much Hate Talk Radio.
Even the very conservative Orlando Sentinel couldn't resist gently poking fun at the two delusional wingnuts. Paranoid and looking for some free publicity, the two of them are calling health care reform an "unprecedented power-grab by President Obama and Congress" which is "clearly not in the best interests of the citizens of Florida.”
The Legislature and then 60 percent of the state's electorate would have to OK the state constitutional amendment, which would almost certainly face its own federal constitutional hurdles (the state doesn't have much say-so in federal tax penalties).
Nearly 4 million Floridians are uninsured presently, and an effort last year by Gov. Charlie Crist and the Legislature called "Cover Florida" to try and make more no-frills coverage plans available without placing mandates on businesses or insurers has so far failed to make a dent in that number.
The battle perfectly demonstrates the narrow and twisted conservative mentality that fights for the status quo and for wealthy elites and has, historically been on the wrong side of every important battle in American history. Conservatives like Baker, Plakon and Rubio opposed the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution, the Bill of Rights, "universal" suffrage for white males, extending suffrage to women and to the poor and to minorities; conservatives opposed ending slavery, opposed public education, opposed food safety and consumer protection, opposed the abolition of child labor, opposed the 8 hour workday, opposed the national park system, opposed the minimum wage, opposed the right of workers to form unions, opposed cleaning up our air, our water, and toxic dump sites, opposed rural electrification, Social Security, Civil Rights, Medicare and Medicaid. They opposed-- in general-- PROGRESS-- and they're still dancing to the same stale tunes.
UPDATE: The Need For Health Care Reform In Florida
The Ceter For American Progress took a look at the health care situation in Florida that Baker and Plakon are trying to use to further their disgraceful political careers. The numbers show a great need for the kind of health care reform President Obama is proposing:
• 850 residents of Florida are losing health insurance every day, and 14,000 Americans nationwide lose insurance daily.
• The average family premium in Florida costs $1,400 more because our system fails to cover everyone-- and $1,100 more nationally.
• Our broken health insurance system will cost the Florida economy as much as $19 billion this year in productivity losses due to the uninsured-- and up to $248 billion nationally.
• In Florida there has been a 15 percent increase in the uninsured rate since 2007.
• 3,920,000 are uninsured today in Florida.
• In Florida the combined market share of the top two insurers is 45 percent, limiting employers’ and families’ health insurance options as well as the care they receive.
• The average family premium will rise from $12,763 to $21,779 by 2019 in Florida without health care reform.
• In Florida, without health care reform, 556,070 will have lost coverage from January 2008 to December 2010.
• In Florida, 1,854,000 people would gain coverage as a result of the House health care reform bill by 2013, and 2,982,000 would gain coverage by 2019.
• A typical Florida family will pay $21,779 for health coverage in 2019 without health care reform.