(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.

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.