(Tom Toles/The Washington Post)

“Exceeded my expectations!” yelped Paul Ryan, at the news that the Congressional Budget Office had scored the Republican Obamacare Plan a disaster.

The review forecast that the GOP plan would result in 24 million people losing their insurance. If you compare that number to the number who got insurance under Obamacare, it’s pretty close to all of them! How  could the GOP improve on that?

Repeal and replace! Everybody wondered what that would mean, once the scalpels actually started slicing. The ever-reliable Donald Trump told us it would mean health-care coverage for everyone! Great coverage, at great prices! If you believed that, I have a Trump University degree to sell you. But, in the event, as so often happens with Trump statements, what he promised bore no relation to what was possible, or desirable. But, too late, smart Trump voters! You are on the operating table now, and the scalpels are glinting in the overhead work lights. And when the slicing is done, you will discover that in “repeal and replace,” “replace” is just more “repeal.”

So okay, millions will lose their coverage. What they will gain is some excellent word descriptors, the best. Ryan has called the GOP plan “freedom.” He has also called it “an act of mercy.” Yes, of course. That’s also what they call it when they put your dog down. But that’s not all! It also means tax cuts! And you know what that means. When the Republicans say tax cuts, that means tax cuts for the rich. The rich most definitely think of this as “freedom” and “an act of mercy.” Feel their former pain as you feel your current pain.

Politically, the GOP was in a bind. They’d been promising the impossible, and promising and promising it. They had to choose between their promises and the possible. They chose ideology, and now they are not sure which will be worse, the damage resulting from passing their bill or not passing it. The rubber is now meeting the road, and the road turns out to be up the front and down the back of many of their voters.

Will their voters notice this? The Republicans have grown accustomed to their voters not noticing anything. The current hope is telling them that Obama is still secretly president, and from his cave in the deep state he stole their health coverage and gave it to the terrorists.

Senate Democratic Leader Oscar Braynon

Response to State of the State – as Delivered

March 7, 2017


·       Good afternoon. I’m Oscar Braynon, and I’m the leader of the Senate Democratic Caucus.

·       On behalf of the Senate Democratic members, I’d like to talk to you for a few minutes about Governor Scott’s State of the State address today.

·       Not just about what he said, but about what he didn’t, about the promises he’s broken, and why that matters.

·       For the past seven years, Governor Scott has talked a lot about the economy. “It’s all about jobs,” he says.

·       Well, he’s right. We couldn’t agree more. Everyone needs work; everyone needs a job.

·       The problem is the kind of jobs he’s been bringing home to Florida.

·       Because the majority of his jobs are great for teenagers, or someone just starting out, but not for someone with skills, with training, with a strong work history, or a family to support.

·       They’re not the kind of jobs that let you save for that new car, that down payment on a new house, or your kid’s future education.

·       They’re not the kind of jobs that invest in the people.

·       And it’s that commitment to investing in the people that’s been missing from too many areas in the seven years since Governor Scott first took office.

·       In states like Michigan, Arizona, and even Vice President Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana, the governors didn’t stand in the way of the people getting affordable health care.

·       They realized that bankrupting residents because of a medical emergency isn’t the way to prosperity.

·       They realized that the national health care law not only brought more medical coverage for people, but more good paying jobs in the health care field.

·       They knew that you can’t work if you’re sick, you can’t give 100 percent if your body is operating at half power, and you can’t take care of others if you can’t take care of yourself.

·       Time and time again, Governor Scott had the chance to do the right thing, to invest in the people by expanding healthcare coverage in Florida.

·       But he didn’t. He gave the public’s money away in big tax breaks to big companies instead.

·       It was a fool’s errand.

·       From conservative think tanks to top economists, there’s widespread agreement that the way to lure the top companies with the top paying jobs isn’t just dangling tax dollars in front of them.

·       Florida is and has been one of the lowest tax states for business in the country.

·       Business executives want what the rest of us do, and it all comes down to quality of life: good schools and top-notch universities, quality, affordable healthcare, efficient transportation, and clean water and air.

·       They want more than just a state that sells itself as “cheap.”

·       So as Governor Scott continues his sales pitch for more of your dollars for more of his corporate tax cuts, ask him about that big shortfall the state is facing because of these very same policies, and his broken promises to turn Florida around.

·       Ask him about the green sludge fouling Florida’s waters because money was never committed for prevention.

·       Ask him why we’re stuck near the bottom in high school graduation rates and educating our pre-school kids.

·       Ask him why 9,000 more people with developmental disabilities age 21 or older are waitlisted for services, or why we’re at the bottom of the national pack in our commitment to services for the mentally ill, or access to basic health care.

·       And ask him why investments in the people just aren’t as important as the people’s money for his tax incentives.


·       If you had the chance, what would you choose?

·       More jobs paying minimum wage, or jobs you could brag about, jobs you were proud of, jobs that were taking you somewhere?

·       If you had the chance, would you check the box for fewer doctors, less medical services, and higher costs?

·       Or would you check the box for a family doctor, preventative services, and treatment  you can afford?

·       As Democrats, we believe in the right choices, the ones that deliver the good jobs we need, and the affordable healthcare we’re missing.

·       We believe in a future that aims higher, that wraps the hopes and dreams of every man and every woman struggling to hold on, into one unified march for better opportunities now – not some faraway date in the future.

·       And we believe that the way that you do this is by investing in the people.

·       Start with education, the great equalizer, and start young. Commit the money our public schools desperately need to shore up crumbling buildings, pay better salaries to our teachers entrusted with educating our children, and provide the tools students need to succeed and stand second to none.

·       Embrace health care coverage for all Floridians, and the financial sense it makes not just in eliminating expensive back-end treatments, but a boon in new high paying jobs.

·       And rethink opportunity and second chances by eliminating criminal records for minor drug and non-violent offenses so that job offers don’t vanish with the application form.


·       All of this was missing from Governor Scott’s State of the State speech today. It’s been missing for the past seven years.

·       For all his campaigning as an “outsider” his politics have been focused on the well-being of the insiders, his promised tax cuts mostly tailored for the well-off while the tax bills went to everyone else.

·       In his first campaign for president, former President Obama said: “Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work. That’s the promise of America.”

·       That’s the promise of Florida, too. And that’s the promise Democrats intend to keep.

·       Thank you. 




Michelle DeMarco

Communications Director

Florida Senate Democratic Office

404 South Monroe Street

Tallahassee, FL 32399

  • July 27, 2015
    Medicaid at 50: A Look at the Long-Term Benefits of Childhood Medicaid

  • An emerging body of research underscores the significant role that Medicaid plays as a source of health coverage and financial protection for children and families—the benefits of which last through adulthood. New data highlight striking examples of the long-term effects of Medicaid—including better health, lower rates of mortality, better educational and economic outcomes, and many ways in which government recoups its investment in the long term. These findings underscore Medicaid’s role as not only a foundational source of health coverage for children, but also an investment in their future.

    In light of these findings, the need to preserve and strengthen Medicaid for future generations of children has never been greater as the program reaches its fiftieth year. This paper highlights the mounting evidence underscoring the positive long-term effects of childhood Medicaid coverage that emerge later in life for adolescents and adults.

    The Top Three Benefits

    1. As the Medicaid program turns 50 a growing body of research provides evidence that children with Medicaid coverage become healthier adults.

    Using longitudinal data from Medicaid expansions in the 1980s and 1990s, researchers found that children with access to Medicaid showed a 26 percentage point decline in the incidence of high blood pressure in adulthood. In addition, children with Medicaid had lower rates of hospitalizations and emergency room visits in adulthood—leading the government to recoup between 3 and 5 percent of the initial cost of Medicaid eligibility expansions in just one year. Children with Medicaid are also healthier adolescents, with lower rates of eating disorders, drinking, and mortality.

    2. Medicaid eligibility expansions for children also lead to greater academic achievements.

    Children who benefited from the Medicaid eligibility expansions were less likely to drop out of high school (9.7 percent decline) and more likely to graduate from college (5.5 percent increase).

    3. Children with access to Medicaid had greater economic success as adults.

    Two new studies indicate that these children had higher incomes later in life and were more likely to surpass their families’ economic status, making them less reliant on safety net programs and contributing to a strong government return on investment. Each additional year of Medicaid eligibility from birth to age 18 increased cumulative tax payments in adulthood of $186 per person (a 0.9 percent increase) and reduced receipt of the Earned Income Tax Credit receipts by $75 (a 2.4 percent decrease) by age 28. The increase in tax payments alone returned nearly one-third (32 cents on the dollar) of the initial cost of expanding childhood Medicaid by the time these children reached age 28, and 56 cents of each dollar by the time the children reached age 60. Medicaid-eligible children also had greater economic mobility, with a greater likelihood that their income exceeded that of their parents.


    Medicaid at 50

    Editorial Board,

    Published: Tuesday, April 28, 2015
    What is going on in the Florida Legislature right now is morally and fiscally indefensible and threatens the well-being of Florida and its people.

    It isn't complicated but has been made so by ideologues with power. The state has more than 800,000 people who are uninsured because they do not qualify for Medicaid or cannot afford insurance. The federal government has a contract with Florida, as with other states, to provide what is known as Low Income Pool funds to pay for hospital charity care when the poor go to an emergency room.

    As part of the Affordable Care Act, the Obama administration told states the LIP money would be going away and urged them to replace it with a Medicaid expansion plan. So far 28 states have done so. The idea is it is more efficient medically and economically to provide regular health care to the poor somewhere besides a hospital emergency room.

    The Florida Senate understood. So did Florida's major business groups, hospitals organizations and voters. A Senate Medicaid expansion plan calls for recipients to be working or in school and pay a small monthly premium. The plan, approved by Washington, would provide more care at less cost - saving an estimated $1.7 billion over five years - and create tens of thousands of jobs and pump tens of billions of dollars into Florida's economy over the next decade.

    The Florida House leadership, however, has opted to play politics. Anything tied to Obamacare is anathema. From the start, Speaker Steve Crisafulli, R-Merritt island, and his lieutenants have stubbornly refused to even discuss Medicaid expansion. At all. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott, who should be providing leadership toward compromise, is only exacerbating an already horrible situation. Not only is he opposing Medicaid expansion - after he was for it - he is suing the federal government for the LIP money, a case he is almost sure to lose on our dime. Scott says he does not trust the feds to provide the Medicaid expansion money - even though it is codified in the ACA law - but instead is demanding the feds keep the LIP money flowing. His stance is weak and hurts Florida and its residents.

    But the damage does not stop there. Now the House and the Senate cannot complete a state budget - their singular constitutionally required task - by the end of the legislative session Friday. Their budgets are $4 billion apart, largely because of the health care impasse, and new funding for education, mental health care and new prison guards as well as some modest tax cuts are all at serious risk.

    All so Scott, Crisafulli and Co. can make some ideologically driven political point that ultimately hurts real people.

    Thank goodness for the adults in the Florida Senate. What Scott and the House membership are doing is endangering the health and well-being of Florida, which, contrary to the governor's economic hosannas, is still limping out of the recession.

    Giving poor people access to health care while at the same time saving the state money and boosting its economy is good public policy.

    Refusing to even discuss it is simply morally and fiscally indefensible.
    The Supreme Court. This one's good!
    by HunterFRI NOV 14, 2014 AT 09:48 AM PST
    I don't know what anti-healthcare conservatives suppose the "American Dream" to be, but I've yet to see one aspire to it themselves:
    Defending his fellow Republican governors’ decision to block Medicaid expansion in their states, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) on Friday suggested that denying health coverage to additional low-income Americans helps more people “live the American Dream” because they won’t be “dependent on the American government.”Denying health coverage to any low-income American would run afoul of living the American Dream primarily because of the living part, of course. Denying the Medicaid expansion is expected to kill thousands of Americans outright, and it's difficult to live the "American Dream" as a plastic bag of burnt cinders tossed very respectfully to your next-of-kin. No "American Dream" I am familiar with involves being plunged into sudden bankruptcy by the slightest of accidents; I have never heard a child say when I grow up, I am going to get a medically treated condition but then not be able to treat it because my employer does not cover that.
    “Beyond that, I just ask the basic question: Why is more people on Medicaid a good thing?” he said. “I’d rather find a way, particularly for able-bodied adults without children, I’d like to find a way to get them into the workforce. [...]Particularly able-bodied adults without children, and screw the rest of them. If you are poor and have a child you are out of luck, and had best hope your janitorial job will allow you to raise young Timmy in the mop bucket while you go about your shift; if you are poor and not able-bodied the American Dream dictates you suck it up, self-amputate whichever of your limbs is giving you the trouble using plastic utensils procured from the nearest fast-food restaurant, and apply for a job at that restaurant as soon as you have cauterized the wound on their industrial grill.
    I think ideologically, that’s a better approach, not just as a conservative, but as an American. Have more people live the American dream if they’re not dependent on the American government.”Ideologically, it's a wonderful approach. Ideologically, it would be ideal if poor Americans rode unicorns to their fancy Wall Street jobs and got health insurance from the ghost of Ronald Reagan himself, who would smile as he helped them fill out the forms and would then quickly send them off to Jesus Christ to be processed. The chasm between ideologically andpracticality is wide, and at the bottom is a slow-moving river of Not Really Giving A Shit. If you are so determined to find an ideological solution to poor Americans dying from preventable diseases and not-poor Americans always one hospital visit away from becoming destitute, it is a clear announcement that the great vast sweep of those Americans and their problems is not concerning enough to bother with a non-ideological solution. Which would be, of course, the crux of the problem here.I suspect what Gov. Scott Walker really means is that denying healthcare coverage to low-income Americans is necessary for his own American Dream, which is to be a respected and powerful member of a government that would do such things. The American Dream for Scott Walker means rising to a position where you can tell The Poors that they do not really need health care, and if they did need health care they should have thought of that before becoming Poors. The American Dream for Scott Walker is being able to sit in a very nice office and opine on how all of the Americans who are not governors should be happy to die for the cause of Scott Walker's personal ideology, because we are all in this together, you and I, and if you are not willing to be buried in a pauper's grave in order to provide a slight boost to Scott Walker's planned run for the presidency then you are not really a part of the Scott Walker team, now, are you. You should consider your diabetes or heart disease or sick child from a more ideological perspective, and I am sure then you will be able to appreciate how your existence runs afoul of Scott Walker's American Dream.

    Image From My Collection (Bill)

    So... did we all forget this happened?

    Florida Gov. Rick Scott ordered deep cuts Thursday to programs that serve tens of thousands of residents with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism and other developmental disabilities.
    Though a range of state services face cuts from this year's Legislature, the governor invoked his emergency powers to order the state Agency for Persons with Disabilities to immediately roll back payments to group homes and social workers by 15 percent — an amount providers say could put them out of business and threaten their clients' safety.

    The cuts went into effect immediately.  No provider was given notice.  As the article says they learned from the headline the next morning.

    I remember the picture of the young disabled child that accompanied the story.  She depended on the aides for basic tasks, like eating and bathing.  The workers made minimum wage working around the clock--their pay literally couldn't be cut any less.  No health insurance, no sick leave, no retirement, but tons and tons of love and patience.  Florida's budget for the disabled was already at the bottom in the nation, but it wasn't enough for Rick Scott.  He  kicked them to the curb like his rescue puppy.

    Rick Scott didn't show an ounce of heart or soul.  After all, disabled kids could be dumped into adult nursing homes.  Which they were.  Pam Bondi would defend it.  Evil.  

    Oh... and in case you think he just hates disabled, helpless children, that's not true. He showed that he hated disabled, helpless seniors that year as well.

    Did he at least save any money?  Nope.  Their small budget was cut by a whopping 15%, which was only a few million.  But Rick Scott combined this with 1.3 Billion in cuts to education.  (This was, mind you, after he swore he wouldn't cut education, but as usual, no one calls him on this.)  At least, you would think, that would go a long way helping somebody in Florida.  

    And it did.  


    Rick Scott's donors and friends weren't the only ones to cash in.  So did Rick Scott.  

    Remember in 2010, when Rick Scott spent $75 million to get the governorship?  Remember in 2013 when he introduced a state law that allowed elected officials to keep assets in a so-called "blind trust" instead of disclosing investments as required by Florida's Constitution?  There is a reason Rick Scott failed to disclose how much he has made the past few years.  He is now the wealthiest governor in history, raking in almost half a billion dollars: and "forgetting" to claim $340 million of it.

    This original post was quite long documenting and linking travesty after travesty, and each time Rick Scott has profited off of our misery.  But you know what, I'm TIRED OF IT! This post is ONE FREAKING EXAMPLE out of many.  

    I remember the outrage when it happened.  Now it's never mentioned.  NONE of these are. My state party is treating me to the same tired Medicaid scandal as back in 2010, even though Rick Scott's Medicaid privatization district scheme makes that scandal look like a Sunday drive.  Rick Scott isn't just a horrible politician, he is a  horrible person.  Lest you think that I would say that about any GOP governor, I wouldn't--and haven't.  I didn't say that about "JEB" (John Ellis Bush) or Tom Corbett or Rick Perry or whathaveyou.  But I will say that about Rick Scott.

    When the hell did this state become an abused spouse that tries to convince itself things weren't so bad?

    You know what Florida, THIS IS AN INTERVENTION!  Kick him out, or we're through here.