Monday, 26 September 2011

Florida Accepts ObamaCare Grant Despite Governor's Previous Promise

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Last week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, under mandates established by ObamaCare, awarded $10 million dollars to “129 organizations across the country that would like to become community health centers. These funds, made available by the Affordable Care Act, support organizations’ development as a future health center.”

Nearly 10 percent of the total sum doled out was sent to the state of Florida. The Sunshine State received nearly $880,000.

This largesse was not surprising given that Florida reportedly has one of the highest rates of people without insurance in the country. According to a story published recently in the Florida Independent:

Recent information released from the U.S. Census Bureau reports that Florida had the third highest percentage of residents without insurance in 2010.

According to 2010 Census information (.xls), in a three-year average from 2008 to 2010, Florida’s percentage of uninsured people was 20.7 percent.

The national average for uninsured citizens was 15.6 percent. The highest percentage rate belonged to the state of Texas with 24.8 percent, followed by New Mexico with 21.8 percent uninsured.

Florida still ranks second in the nation, however, using a three-year average starting with 2007.

Furthermore, The Center for American Progress recently released a report assessing the critical role played by community health centers in the overall wellness of Americans. According to that report, “Community health centers are a crucial source of health care for a diverse group of patients, providing preventive services, treatment, and care management for medically under-served communities.”

The report was mentioned in a recent article wherein the author lauded the centers for being “the primary source of medical care for many low-income workers and uninsured people, most of whom are ethnic or racial minorities. They also take care of individuals with disabilities, immigrants and members of the transgender community."

Curiously, the article makes no mention of why “immigrants and members of the transgender community” merit medical care more than the working poor or those who choose not to participate in the health insurance scheme. Astute analysts have noted that the bias of such reports does less to foster favor for these unconstitutional grants and the unconstitutional measures that underly and authorize them than it does to expose the true aim of those promulgating such “laws”: to use the law-making power of Congress to abolish state sovereignty and the traditional social norms with one blow. The effect is a loss of freedom effected by a pincer attack on two of the primary elements buttressing the liberty of the American people and our Republic.

Advocates of ObamaCare are always able to cite more facts and figures justifying the “law:”

The patient load in community health centers around the nation is on the rise. The number of people without access to affordable health care — 56 million, or one-fifth of Americans, according to the National Association of Community Health Centers — is growing because of rising health care costs for individuals and families and due to persistent unemployment at near-double-digit percentages, which eliminates employer-based health insurance for those workers who lose their jobs and for their families, too.

With those figures in mind, there are undoubtedly those who see the government as the recourse for all ills, personal and public, who would argue that Florida was in dire need of help from the federal government in providing medical attention to the poorest and neediest among us — particularly those who otherwise would go untreated. 

There is the counterargument, however, propounded recently (and controversially) by Congressman Ron Paul at a debate among the several Republican contenders for the presidential nomination. During the Tea Party-sponsored debate broadcast on CNN, Paul was asked if we as Americans should just let a hypothetical 30-year-old without health insurance die. Paul (a physician) responded that he believed the church and neighbors should take care of those less fortunate and that the decision to have or not have health insurance is a personal decision and “that's what freedom is all about, taking your own risks.”

Florida’s willingness to accept such a generous grant from Health and Human Services is a significant and disappointing change of position from the courageous and resistant one struck by the state’s Governor earlier this year.

In March, Governor Rick Scott stood boldly in the face of federal temptation and usurpation, declaring he would refuse any money offered to his state by the Obama administration under the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — ObamaCare. As the story was reported by The New American:

Rick Scott is the Governor of the Sunshine State and he is not budging. The Republican chief executive is supported by a majority of the Florida state legislature, and he isn’t afraid of a showdown with the feds.

In fact, Gov. Scott is so adamant that ObamaCare will never be enforced in his state that he has refused $1 million from the federal government to assist in the set up of the exchange and another million earmarked for the tracking of premiums around the state.

Moreover, as has been well-publicized, he and his colleagues have filed a complaint in federal court challenging the constitutionality of the entire law.

Said a defiant and determined Scott:

One year later, I remain convinced that ObamaCare is bad for patients, businesses and taxpayers. This ill-conceived policy will force Florida to spend an additional $12.8 billion on Medicaid and add an additional 2.1 million Floridians to Medicaid. Eliminating patient choice, rationing care and implementing the largest tax hikes in American history are just the beginning of the federal mandate’s consequences. I commend Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi and the other elected officials throughout the country who are standing up to ObamaCare. This law has already been ruled unconstitutional in Florida. Now, we need an expedited appellate process to finish the case against ObamaCare, and we need the federal government to immediately repeal the taxes enacted to pay for its implementation.

As impressive and impassioned as Governor Scott’s speech in March was, the press release announcing the $880,000 ObamaCare award paints a picture much weaker and more compliant.

According to a press release from Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA):

Today’s awards fund several community-based entities seeking to provide a more comprehensive range of primary health care services and/or expand their services to the larger community. These include seven organizations traditionally focused on Tribal/Urban Indian health, five targeting mental health services, four geared toward HIV/AIDS services, three focused on faith-based initiatives, and one senior center. The funding announced today will help these organizations plan for the development of a comprehensive primary care health center, so that they can provide care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable populations and potentially create more high-quality jobs in the future for their communities.

The administrator of the HRSA explained the purpose for these grants: “The Health Center Planning Grants help organizations plan to become health centers. These awards demonstrate HRSA’s commitment to expanding access to quality preventive and primary health care in high need areas across the country.”

Regardless of the purpose or prejudice present in these statements, there is no doubt that the Governor’s acquiescence to federal mandates will have the tragic effect of subordinating the sovereignty of his state to the will of those petty tyrants on the Potomac who would set themselves above the governments of the states.

Photo: Florida Governor Rick Scott

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