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Florida Democratic Party News Clips - May 16, 2013

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ORLANDO SENTINEL: WEATHERFORD AND HOUSE GOP "WEREN'T JUST HEARTLESS...THEY WERE HYPOCRITES"

What we think: House GOP needs to end its health-care hypocrisy [Orlando Sentinel] "When state House Republicans turned down billions of federal dollars to expand health coverage to a million working poor Floridians, they weren't just heartless. They were hypocrites. In the legislative session that ended this month, the House's GOP majority shot down a bipartisan Senate plan that would have accepted $51 billion from Washington, D.C., over the next 10 years to cover more than 90 percent of the cost of the insurance expansion. The state would have kicked in $3.5 billion...But the House, over opposition from its Democratic minority, passed a poor imitation. It would have spurned the federal money and used $2.3 billion in state funds over the next decade to provide bare-bones insurance to only about 115,000 Floridians at or below the poverty level. To qualify, the poor would have had to pay a $25 monthly premium — which is where the hypocrisy comes in. All but seven of the House's 120 members get taxpayer-subsidized insurance that is far more generous than what the Republicans were pitching for the poor. Premiums for individuals are just $8.34 a month...Evidently, there is no shame in the House."

...MORE HYPOCRISY COVERAGE

State Lawmakers Kept Their Cheaper Health Insurance, Denied Medicaid Expansion [Florida Center for Investigative Reporting] "At the same time the Republican-led Florida Legislature was turning down federal funds that would pay for expanding the state’s Medicaid program to more than 1 million people who cannot afford health insurance, those same state lawmakers were working to keep their own insurance premiums lower than most other state employees. According to Tia Mitchell of The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald: 'House members will pay just $8.34 a month for state-subsidized health care' ...Members of the Florida Senate proposed a plan that was endorsed by both Republicans and Democrats in the Legislature. The plan would have accepted the millions in federal funds, but would have directed the money through a state program to buy private insurance for those Floridians who qualified. However, the more conservative members of the Florida House were opposed to accepting any federal money allocated through the health care law. Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford, R-Wesley Chapel, was among them."

 

SCOTT MAY VETO MILLIONS FUNDING FOR SAFETY NET HOSPITALS

Safety net hospitals scrambling to prevent $65 million Sott veto [Miami Herald] "Gov. Rick Scott may veto $65 million in hospital Medicaid funding, although safety net hospitals are mustering all their resources in order to change his mind. The money is related to the state's transition to a new formula for paying hospitals for Medicaid, one that depends on services provided to patients instead of how long they are in a particular hospital's care. The Legislature provided the extra funding to help reduce the losses over 40 hospitals faced under the new formula, with safety nets among the worst hit. That extra money was not a part of Scott's initial budget proposal, but the House insisted on it and the Senate agreed. If Scott vetoes it, Miami's Jackson Memorial hospital would lose the most cash: $23.3 million. Shands Teaching Hospital in Gainesville would lose $11 million and Tampa General Hospital would see its funding slashed by $2 million. A range of rural and specialty hospitals would also lose funding, such as a $1 million loss for Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa."

 

SCOTT'S HERTZ DEAL: TAXPAYERS FORK OVER $85 MILLION FOR 700 JOBS, MOST OF WHICH WILL NOT EVEN GO TO FLORIDIANS 

Hertz gets golden deal in Sunshine State [Florida Watchdog] "[...] Scott and Lee County officials greased the slide with about $85 million in taxpayer incentives. At face value that exceeds the company’s own investment in the move, leaving questions about whether the amount was necessary. In exchange for the public incentives, Hertz will deliver 700 jobs and spend $60 million toward construction of a new building...The 700 jobs, however, won’t all be filled by Floridians, at least not until out-of-state employees officially become Florida residents. In an email exchange with Enterprise Florida, the principal broker of the Hertz deal, Florida Watchdog was told, 'the jobs will be filled by a combination of current and new employees. The exact breakout is proprietary to the company.' But with reports of 550 employees relocating from New Jersey, 120 coming from Tulsa, and the possibility of others arriving from as far away as Dublin, Ireland, the 700 jobs figure begins to look less compelling."

 

RUBIO VOTES AGAINST WATER BILL THAT INCLUDES MILLIONS IN FUNDING FOR EVERGLADES

Rubio votes against Senate water bill; Nelson votes for it [Tampa Bay Times] "The Senate voted 84-13 to approve a wide-ranging water bill today that includes millions in funding for the Everglades and other Florida-related projects. But Florida's senators were at odds. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio voted no despite offering several amendments, including one yesterday that jumped on the IRS scandal. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson voted yes and has touted Everglades funding."