by Marlene “Mickey” Gargan
Chair, Democratic Executive Committee
Governor Rick Scott needs an unending supply of candles. His propensity for doing things in the dark of night requires some small source of illumination. The latest to emerge from the dark is his participation in the low-cost health care provided to some of the more elite state employees. The problem is that, while urging the legislature and the state senate to gut health care for the poor, the disabled, seniors and children, the Governor seeks to save himself and his family substantial insurance costs. I acknowledge and consider it laudable that the Governor draws no salary; that generosity is betrayed by enrolling in the state's program, providing himself and his family with a benefit unavailable to the citizens of Florida.
This is the same governor who is leading the effort to derail the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Gov. Scott is spending millions of our tax dollars in consulting and legal fees to participate in that effort.
The irony of using the people's money to deny affordable care for everyone seems lost on the governor and his supporters. Tearing the heart out of health programs and public education is intentional and designed to create and foster an underclass of the impoverished in Florida. The purpose of this can only be imagined, but it is troubling regardless.
On average, a child born in Canada today will live four years longer than a comparable child born in Florida. There are many reasons for this, but principal among them is access to pre-natal care, pediatric care, good nutrition and physical activity. “Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" should include getting a good start in health and education. It is another irony that anti-abortion folks seem to lose interest in what happens to a child after it is born. Scott demonstrates that tendency by his actions.
It is essential that we care for all citizens of Florida. As reported by the Associated Press, Florida has one of the highest uninsured rates in the nation, according to the data released last year by the U.S. Census. Many, due to circumstances they have no control over, are suffering and we need to work together to develop a system of care that is fair and effective. If we won't care for adults, then, at the very least, we should make sure that children have a great start in life. It is a proper role of the state to help assure that good start. Emergent care is necessary but insufficient to give that assurance. The objective should be to insure that our children have a good beginning with a strong foundation for growing healthy citizens. A reduction of the burdens of chronic illnesses and their resultant costs would follow. Gov. Scott and the legislature need to re-visit all the issues of caring for the citizens of Florida and cast aside politics to create health care that is obtainable and affordable for all.
Let them shine a light in the darkness.