Romney + Ryan + Scott = Trouble in Florida
After proposing a plan to end Medicare as we know it and voting to lift the Cuban embargo, Florida has become a no-fly zone for Paul Ryan. Now that it is increasingly clear that Ryan is too toxic for the Sunshine State, Mitt Romney has finally been forced to turn to Rick Scott, the nation's most unpopular governor, to introduce him this morning. But the Madoff of Medicare couldn't be a worse choice to address seniors' concerns on the Romney-Ryan plan, which replaces Medicare with a voucher program, since Scott's company was involved in the largest Medicare fraud in the history of the United States. If Republicans are relying on the Romney-Scott-Ryan Team to carry the Sunshine State, Florida is looking like increasingly hostile territory for the GOP.
The Tampa Bay Times wrote that under Ryan's proposed budget "Medicare and Medicaid are particularly at risk." "House Republicans envision a country where Americans would be increasingly on their own to afford food and medical care even when they are elderly, disabled or poor. [...] Floridians should be concerned about all these misplaced priorities, but Medicare and Medicaid are particularly at risk. House Republicans would end the help seniors receive toward closing the prescription drug doughnut hole. Their plan would eventually raise Medicare’s eligibility age from 65 to 67. It would transform the safety net into a premium-support voucher program that provides government subsidies to private insurers, though beneficiaries could keep the current fee-for-service option. [...] Congressional Republicans want to exacerbate the nation’s yawning income inequality while making life harder for those at the bottom. It just goes to show how much elections matter.” [Tampa Bay Times, 3/31/12]
Polls indicate the Romney-Ryan plan to turn Medicare into a voucher is toxic in Florida, and "Ryan could be a drag on Romney in Florida". "Polls indicate that voters over 50 years old — who make up more than half the Florida electorate — are wary of changes to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security…even Republicans might not be on board with wholesale Medicare changes, according to an AARP poll last year of Florida Republican voters." [Miami Herald, 8/11/12]
Miami Herald: Paul Ryan's Cuban-embargo stance could be a sore point in Miami-Dade. "The Wisconsin Congressman has voted at least three times in opposition to the embargo. A handful of current and former Republican Cuban-American lawmakers, who didn’t want to be identified for fear of bucking their own party, told The Miami Herald that Ryan’s record on the Cuban embargo might disappoint Cuban voters, who comprise 72 percent of the GOP electorate in Miami-Dade, Florida’s largest county." [Miami Herald, 8/11/12]
Rick Scott's company was involved in the largest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history. "It was and still is the biggest Medicare fraud case in U.S. history and ended with the hospital giant Columbia/HCA paying a record $1.7 billion in fines, penalties and damages. Now the man who ran the company at the time wants to be Florida's governor. Rick Scott was co-founder and CEO of Columbia/HCA in the 1990s, when the FBI launched a massive, multi-state investigation that led to the company pleading guilty to criminal charges of overbilling the government." [Orlando Sentinel, 5/20/10]
Rick Scott has been undercutting Mitt Romney's campaign message for months. "With Florida a must-win state for Mitt Romney, the candidate is emphasizing Florida’s economic woes and blaming it on President Obama. But that narrative is conflicting with the story Gov. Rick Scott tells about the state’s improving outlook…Can the two views under one tent hurt Romney? Brad Coker, a pollster with Mason Dixon Research, believes it already is.'" [Miami Herald, 8/13/12]